Our legislators lack integrity

A society, in which members who have integrity (honesty, independent thinking) do not point out those who lack these traits, will suffer. It is for this reason, I feel like it is my duty to inform those of you who are not aware of things that are slowly destroying our way of life (Democracy). All my national and state senators and representatives lack this important trait. Let me give you two examples.

Unless you are living under a rock, you have noticed the signs on store fronts reading “hiring now.” Why are so many jobs going unfulfilled? First, they are minimum wage jobs. Waitresses in many establishments are paid like $2.50 an hour plus tips. If you give less than a 20% tip they are working as slave labor. Secondly, these jobs are mostly for women, especially single mothers. In addition, in this valley, many of the jobs are seasonal. Solution: pay a living wage and provide day care. A living wage is defined as enough money after 40 hours of work that pays above welfare. Childcare is almost nonexistent or priced so high that single mothers can’t afford it. Some form of subsidized childcare and early childhood education would reduce the problem of filling jobs and increase productivity at the same time. When business owners cried to their representatives for help they came up with a solution. The federal government proposed giving the states money to increase unemployment insurance payments of $300 per week until September. This mean to the powers that be that people were being paid for not working. Of course they were “doing better” but it was because these mothers weren’t paying for childcare. Even so, these mothers were falling behind on bills like rent, car payments, and food because these jobs disappeared due to COVID-19. Therefore, our legislators refused to accept the federal money forcing these people back to work, and deeper in debt.

The second item deals with property taxes. This is so complicated that I can only give an overview. The State of Idaho is doing so well that there is a surplus in the general fund and Republicans want to reduce taxes. Sounds good but who should get the lions share? None of this will go to people who don’t own property, the people who need the relief the most. That lets out the majority. I have said before that eliminating sales tax for groceries would give back money to those who need it the most. Not to be!!! But here comes the complication. Cities are only going to be reimbursed property tax moneys for specific items in their budgets at 80% instead of 100% as was done in the past. If I understand this correctly, cities will have to cut services or raise taxes to cover the shortfalls. Wow, this is great because city governments will catch the complaints, not the state, for raising taxes. In any case, the average taxpayer will see an increase in what they owe in taxes if they want the same levels of service.

I will repeat my advice to all of you that thinks this stinks. Vote these people out of office. Those of you that are young enough (I’m 76) who have integrity, run for office, or support new people in primaries that have integrity.

Richard Miller