IDAHO PUBLIC EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION
1. Is it important to you to maintain PERSI as a Defined Benefit (DB) plan or would you support transitioning to a Defined Contribution (DC) plan?
A defined contribution plan would relieve taxpayers of holding the bill should the fund ever come up short, so it would be my preferred option between the two from that standpoint. However, I do not think that government should be in the business of providing retirement plans for their employees at all. I would suggest phasing out PERSI altogether by having individuals roll their funds over to private individual retirement accounts or simply take a payout. Salaries should be adjusted to compensate for the current employer match. Individuals would then make their own decisions as to how to save for retirement. I would like to see this happen as well for other benefits such as health insurance.
2. Current state revenue appears inadequate to maintain critical state services going forward. How do you propose increasing revenue to meet these needs in the future?
I would venture to guess that my list of what would be considered to be critical services is shorter than that of most other people. There is more than enough revenue to cover critical services if government were to be restored to its proper and limited role. We need to eliminate the non-critical services and cut taxes and fees, not increase them.
3. What do you think are the five (5) most important factors in encouraging businesses to come to Idaho? Please rank in order of importance.
(1) End the personal property business tax and reduce or eliminate corporate income taxes
(2) Repeal occupational licensing laws with their attendant rules, regulations, and fees
(3) Remove any other impediments to businesses created by “red tape” regulations, including planning and zoning ordinances
(4) Nullify federal laws and programs that intrude into the workplace where there is no clear constitutional basis for their existence
(5) Reestablish honest, sound money by enforcing the constitutional mandate “No State shall... make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts”
4. The state is forgoing millions of dollars in revenue as a result of sales tax exemptions. How would you propose addressing this issue?
If the sales tax remains in place, the exemptions need to be addressed from an equity standpoint, not from a lost revenue viewpoint. I think all sales tax exemptions should be removed permanently, with the rate adjusted accordingly to balance the revenue generated. As for my position on taxes, I believe all current forms of taxation, including property tax, income tax, sales tax, business taxes, and fees should be replaced with a simple capitation tax based on the census.
5. Do you support contracting services for state government rather than providing services with state employees? If so, when is it inappropriate to contract for services?
Each situation needs to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis keeping cost, efficiency, and security in mind.
6. What is your underlying philosophy of state government? In what ways, if any, should government be operated differently than a for-profit enterprise?
Government should only be involved in doing the minimal amount necessary to protect our lives, liberty, and property. It should not act nor operate like a business. From a monetary standpoint, there is no need to make a profit, invest or borrow, or answer to shareholders or investors like a business would. Instead, government should operate on the minimum necessary to provide for its basic functions, reducing the impact on taxpayers. Revenues generated through taxation should be spent carefully by those who have been given the public trust to manage the funds.
Would you care to elaborate on #2 by telling us which state services if any you would maintain?
I would maintain services for the operation of the legislature and the judiciary, as well as the offices of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, State Controller, State Treasurer, and the Attorney General. The only divisions within the office of the governor that should remain are Financial Management, Human Resources (both of which could fall under the Department of Administration), and the Tax Commission (which could exist as the Department of Revenue). All other divisions, agencies, commissions, councils, and boards should be eliminated.
The departments that fall under the executive branch that have legitimate functions include the departments of Administration, Correction, Fish and Game, Lands, Transportation, and Water Resources. Each of these departments have taken on many roles that are not proper functions of government, so there would need to be a lot of trimming within each of these departments. All other departments should be completely eliminated with the exception of Juvenile Corrections which should be administered under the Department of Correction.
I also think that the Idaho State Police should operate as a division of the Department of Correction (which might necessitate a name change) keeping in mind that most law enforcement should be administered by elected county sheriffs. The only other obligation of the state is the militia, which, as constitutionally mandated, should have its officers and training be organized and implemented by state government. What part the National Guard plays in that should be determined by congress and the legislature.