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Our Panel of Experts

The panelists' role in Deliberation Day was to answer the questions posed to them by the participants in a Plenary session, after the participants had discussed jobs and national security in smaller group discussions. Our panelists were Lt. Governor James Risch (R), State Representative Margaret Henbest (D-Boise), Idaho Economics President John Church, and Ross Burkhart, Chair, Political Science Department, Boise State University.

bordenMichael Borden, Staff Sergeant, Army, Meridian
Is it naïve to expect that the exportation of democracy be the solution to our security problems?



henbestMargaret Henbest, State Representative Margaret Henbest (D-Boise)
I think it is naïve. If you look at the tradition of democracy in this country, it evolved over hundreds of years. I think it is somewhat naïve and it doesn't honor the long road and long evolution that democracy requires.


rischJim Risch, Lt. Governor James Risch (R)

I think the only hope in the long run is democracy. Certainly democracy is not the short term solution. The short term problem we have are religious fanatics with whom you can't reason.



velasquezMichele Velasquez, Administrative Assistant
Why should soldiers be the only ones to fight the war on terror?




churchJohn Church, Idaho Economics President
We are running some record deficits that are ominous in the long term future. Perhaps we should all be sacrificing a little more to pay for this concurrently as the war goes on.



andersonPaul Anderson, Construction, Meridian
What criteria should we have to determine a pre-emptive strike?




Margaret Henbest
I don't know the answer to that question. My concern is whether we made matters worse. I look at what seems to be the increase in terrorism.

Jim Risch
We have got to keep the nuclear material out of their hands. If it takes a pre-emptive strike, so be it.

hassonMarv Hasson, Retired, Boise, Idaho
Can the political system and/or leaders affect trade policies and companies from outsourcing…or are companies stronger than the government? If they can, is a level playing field attainable…and how do we get it?


burkhart Ross Burkhart, Chair, Political Science Department, Boise State University

I think governments have been a little bit surprised by the issue of outsourcing. The structure of global trade negotiations, which have taken place either through GAT or the WTO have been not particularly focused on this issue in the past; and trading negotiations in the future, I think, will start to address this issue more and more. So governments have really not done what they can, or what they could potentially do, on this particular issue.

Jim Risch
I spend most of my time working on economic development for the State of Idaho. And the way I go and steal companies from other states and bring 'em here, and we have…is to convince them that this is the best place in the United States to do business. And that's what you've gotta sell 'em! And that's true in the world marketplace today

williamsPam Williams, Foodservice, Eagle, Idaho
When we roll back the one percent sales tax, how will we make up the difference?



John Church

I'm very disappointed that we didn't come up with some sort of compromise on what we could do with services…I believe there are so many services that are not regressive, that could be taxed. I mean, the guy who mows my lawn. Gee, should I pay a sales tax on it? I believe so. My dry cleaning, same thing. These are not necessarily regressive taxes, per se, but the time has come and the situation has changed, that maybe some of these need to be taxed.

wilsonLefty Wilson, Construction, Lowman, Idaho
Why did you squander the state budget surplus of state tax year 2001?




Jim Risch

I don't view that budget surplus as squandering. We did some things with that money that we felt were very important for improving the economy in Idaho.
Some of that money was used for a jobs credit for companies that would create jobs for Idahoans; some of that money was used for job training for Idahoans so that we could put 'em to work, particularly if they were displaced. So you can talk about it as 'squandering' if you wanna talk about it as 'squandering.' I don't view it that way.

Margaret Henbest
And we did, I think, fail to have a good look at the fairness of our sales tax mechanism and the exemptions that we provide in our state.
And I would hope that as we move into another tight budgeting cycle that, rather than just slash budgets across the board, that we really do look at our whole tax system from a fairness and equity standpoint, and consider removing some of those exemptions or changing the structure in general to achieve more fairness.


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