Mail and Commentary, March 30, 2011 

"'Go On!' To an out-of-state college if you possibly can ..."

--BJR451 (, Citydesk, "Senate Approves Lowest Higher Ed Budget in More Than a Decade," March 24, 2011)

Consume Less

It is estimated that if the whole world were consuming as much as the wealthy countries are consuming, we would have to use up five Earths. To increase the world's sustainability, the wealthy need to shift to smaller, more efficient homes, i.e. multi-family units. Also, we should make sure that range-fed meat isn't from animals over-grazing.

--Alexander Michael Sokolow, Santa Monica,Calif.


I just wanted to let you know that I always enjoy reading your food reviews. And as someone whose favorite food is plain French bread from Albertsons, that's saying something. Thanks, BW.

--Megan Mizuta, Boise

Why Won't Our Legislature Act in a Positive Way to Reduce the Budget?

We are seeing the results of some of the many cuts being proposed. Many will add to the number of unemployed. Adding to the number of unemployed doesn't do much to reverse the recovery of the economy. Cuts only will not solve the problem.

One or two enhancements could reduce some of the pain that will result from bills already passed and signed into law.

Here are some ways to reduce budget shortfall:

One penny sales tax increase limited to two years.

Increase taxes on cigarettes and liquor.

Repeal the many tax loopholes or at least some of them.

Collect uncollected taxes.

Reform the tax code so that we do not have another recession by putting in place a service tax. Do not include medical services. Change the definition of middle class from $25,000 a year to a more realistic figure. Repeal some of the 89 sales tax exemptions that take away $1.7 billion from the revenue stream. Many of these are far outdated and need to be repealed.

I agree that some cuts are necessary. The Office of Endangered Species attached to the Governor's Office should be eliminated. Legislators and other state agencies are escaping cuts. Why? Prisons are getting a huge increase that will largely go out of state to a large corporation.

Why are not one or two of these enhancements all buried by our current Legislature being considered? Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's current bill to give tax credits to companies hiring new people is at least a minimum start.

--Fred Christensen, Caldwell

Ed Reform

The following comments were posted at about the Senate's passage of SB 1184, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna's third education reform bill.

I have been all over the United States and I can say that Idaho is one of the worst states for education. From kindergarten not being mandatory to these asinine laws just passed, Idaho has one of the worst records in education I have seen. It is like they are anti-education and that a majority of the people look down on people going to school. This is one of the first places I have been where most of the high school seniors do not have any plans on going to college.

--John Mayton Holden

This is not the state I grew up in ... for shame! But, I guess there's a bright side: As this proves the amount of ignorance in our state, I guess there's really no more need for education. Apparently, it's too late.

--Sean Small

Sean, you're right. This is not the state I grew up in. I remember what it felt like to be proud.

-- Judy Ferro

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