Mail and Commentary Aug. 17, 2011 

"Meanwhile ... Dracula could expect a stellar approval rating in Idaho so long as he was serving and/or running as a Republican and/or Tea [insert acceptable nomenclature here]."

--Mike Murphy, (Citydesk, "Idahoans Give Obama Lowest Approval Rating," Aug. 8, 2011)

Dems Right On $$

When the final tax receipt numbers through the end of the 2011 fiscal year are in, the state will have $85.3 million more than estimated by the governor or legislative Republicans. The majority of the surplus will be distributed to schools. But that is only because federal law requires it. The distribution of these surplus funds has come so late that school districts cannot include them in their current budgets for the 2011-2012 school year. The damage is already done.

Remember this last legislative session when we were told that we had no choice but to cut vital services? The Republican budget forecast was intentionally low. It purposefully ignored the expert testimony of professional economists inside and outside of government. And it resulted in a budget that significantly underfunded public schools, colleges and the help needed for the disabled and mentally ill. It caused layoffs of state employees and private sector workers and has likely impaired the state's ability to oversee the performance of its contractors. None of this needed to happen.

During the legislative session, we Democrats fought these cuts as being shortsighted and unnecessary and we were right. By next June 30, the state may well be running a budget surplus of $100 million to $200 million. This is an opportunity to reconsider the harmful cuts made last session. Besides starving our schools and vital health and welfare services, this artificial surplus also creates compounded problems going forward. The FY 2012 budget for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2012, is built on the FY 2011 forecast, which was built on a faulty assumption. So relying on the artificially low budget for FY 2010, the Republicans projected that state revenues would only grow from the 2011 base by 3 percent to $2.430 billion for the fiscal year ending next June 30. That is the 2012 budget number. But we know that 2011, the fiscal year that just ended, resulted in actual revenue of $2.444 billion, which is more than that projected for the fiscal year we are now in. Even if there is no growth, there will be a surplus when the current budget year ends next June 30. Meanwhile our government agencies are stuck with the slashed budgets previously set.

We call on the governor to help all the citizens and rework the 2012 current budget in view of the needs of the state, our citizens and the money available. If it takes a special session to recognize reality, so be it.

--Rep. Grant Burgoyne, Boise, Rep. Bill Killen, McCall

Damage Done

So, American people, do you want the good news, or do you want the bad news? Good news is, we averted a first-time-in-history default on our nation's debts. Bad news is, the economy and full faith and credit of the United States were damaged by an invented crisis Republicans imposed on the rest of America.

It's not a sign of fiscal discipline not to pay your bills. Credit agencies look at your ability to pay and your willingness to pay. Thanks to right wing extremists, Congress has demonstrated an unwillingness to pay. It's a disgrace to purposely default on one's debts.

The Tea Party crowd's hyper-partisanship has dragged down our GDP, sunk the stock market and messed with the global financial world, sending a tremendous blow to investors and a downtick in consumer confidence and spending--which affects jobs, the No. 1 issue.

It's a blatant lie that tax and deficit cuts create jobs. Companies hire solely because of demand, nothing else. Where does demand come from? People having jobs and paychecks to spend. Thousands of construction workers, unemployed because of the housing bust, could be put to work right now on roads and infrastructure. We have a set of trade deals already negotiated that Congress needs to pass. Congress just went on a five-week holiday, abandoning a stalled FAA bill containing 200 airport construction projects, leaving 4,000 FAA employees furloughed and 74,000 construction workers idle. Our roads, schools and sewers are crumbling, while our tax base is shrinking, thanks to delusional Republicans who insist we must have severe cuts and no revenue, which means less money to do anything. Come election day, the people will remember the party of the uncompromising, the unreasonable and the reckless.

--Sherrie Goff,Pocatello

Stop Running

Kudos to Robyn Benincasa for founding Project Athena to aid "survivors of medical, physical or emotional events" as described in the Aug. 10 publication of Boise Weekly (Rec, "Becoming a Goddess"). It sounds like an organization that is filling a great need here in Idaho and around the country.

However as a physical therapist who routinely treats patients following joint replacement surgery, I feel her choice to continue running after replacement surgery is misguided at best and potentially dangerous. Long distance running is not recommended following total hip replacement surgery. If a patient does decide to run they have a strong possibility of experiencing bone and/or implant failure. It appears that this is exactly what happened to Ms. Benincasa.

Orthopedic surgeons can only perform a few revisions to failed hip replacement surgeries. Once revision is no longer an option patients have to suffer the pain and disability of unfunctional joints for the rest of their lives. I would highly recommend that Ms. Benincasa, and any patient who has undergone joint replacement surgery, to find other modes of activity (bicycling, kayaking, swimming) rather than running in order to lengthen the time before a revision is needed.

Being part of a family that has had two members diagnosed with cancer, I am grateful to people like Ms. Benincasa who provide opportunity and support to those in need. I hope she is able to channel her boundless energy for running into other activities and continue to support this wonderful organization she founded.

--Jim Pape,Boise

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