Whether or not you agreed with President Barack Obama's stimulus package, we must now put these resources to use and confront our economic realities. But success is not achieved by simply writing a check and going shopping. The stimulus may help alleviate the problems we face, but it should not be used for more government programs today that we cannot afford to keep tomorrow. We must be sure to spend every penny wisely. Having worked nearly a decade as an auditor in both government and the private sector—seeking out fraud, waste and abuse in our budgets; finding ways to make government programs work more efficiently; and stretching taxpayer dollars further so that we can achieve more with what we spend—I am particularly interested in promoting fiscal stewardship. I will be watching closely to see that taxpayer dollars are spent appropriately. I hope every concerned citizen is watching.
Economic forecasts are bleak, and in Boise, we are feeling the effects directly. After watching several family members leave the city to protect their jobs and seeing many of my West Boise neighbors sell their homes to prevent foreclosure, I am more convinced than ever that we can and must do more. We must lay ideologies aside and do what we can to protect and attract good jobs, spark new business growth, and invest here at home. I praise efforts this year to reject any tax increases—this is not the year to require more of already over-burdened taxpayers, but rather a year to provide relief to the middle class. This is not a Democrat or Republican challenge; this is an American challenge. I am hopeful that our public officials will continue to find ways to see eye-to-eye.
We are faced with many challenges this year. It is not just our pocketbooks getting hit—our infrastructure is falling apart at the seams. I applaud Boise's mayor, Dave Bieter, for standing by the side of Gov. Otter last month on the steps of the old Ada County Courthouse in support of transportation, showing that we can find common ground during difficult times. I encourage our Legislature to do the same and find ways to seek an economic solution that represents collaboration from the best ideas available. Whether you agreed or disagreed with the governor's transportation plan, it's a fact that Idaho lags way behind other states in infrastructure spending. Our infrastructure is aging, including structurally deficient or functionally obsolete bridges across the state. We also lack an adequate funding source for public transportation which, combined with future growth, only adds to the concern. Transportation must be a priority.
Like many of you, my wife and I are proud to live in what we believe is the greatest city in America, and we want our future to remain just as great. We can either let the worst economic times of most of our lives become a catalyst for change in the way we do business, or we can do nothing and continue the same policies that got us into this difficult position. Now is the time for fresh ideas and proactive governance. We should work together to find ways to bring down the barriers preventing businesses from succeeding, bring a hyper-focus to small business start-ups and long-term economic opportunities in the Treasure Valley, and support efforts that increase purchasing and use of local produce and products to keep those much-needed dollars here at home. We must do these things because people are hurting, and it's not just in the news, it's in our neighborhoods and homes. Let's dig ourselves out, Idaho.
No on Booze Bill
Dear Honorable Legislators: I want to appeal to your common sense.
Please step in my shoes for a minute. I brought my family, my life's work and savings and invested all of it in Idaho—in a building and a liquor license. My family and I built a business based on the liquor license laws that were and are now enforced. I have heard change is on its way.
The change that I have heard about will bankrupt me and other small businesses like me. These changes will put people on the streets. Staying in business in Idaho where I'm at, where there is a six-month economy, is very difficult as it is. I bought into the laws of the state, measured the risk and figured I could make a simple living, which has proven out. I now support two grandchildren. Please do not send us to the homeless line. I have built and sold 22 businesses to get to Idaho. I am 55 years old and wearing out working 18 hour days. My retirement is my business and building.
It is not government's job to destroy people's livelihoods or property values and force financial destruction. If you look at the liquor license bill, I know your common sense will tell you it is wrong and unnecessary. Remember, liquor licenses are property. Banks have loaned on them. Federal tax law reports it. The state collects transfer taxes on sales of licenses. So you see a "no vote" is the only right thing to do. We all have to live with our decisions. Most liquor license holders don't even know their livelihood is under attack. Thank you for your time.
Society deserves something back from Bernie Madoff and all those other finance crooks. Enslave them in hard labor camps. Test all drugs, tortures and surgical techniques on them—forget animals. Give all their homes and other assets to the people they screwed, not families or friends. And when they die, donate their organs, preserve what's left, and hang them naked in front of the [New York] Stock Exchange.
—J. Andrew Smith, Bloomfield, NJ