March 2, 2010
Moscow-Pullman Daily News
Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter isn't having fun in Boise. He's been bombarded by newspapers throughout the state for some of his budgetary decisions, and it's been hard on him.
Really, he just wants a little peace, love and happiness to reign over Idaho. A little compassion wouldn't be bad, either.
"This is a tough, tough position to be in," he said at an Idaho Press Club even last week. "I have to pick and choose, and when I made choices, I have to live with them. It's not fun."
Well, governor, for many Idahoans, things haven't been fun for a long time. Many of the decisions coming from the Legislature - and from you - are going to make things not only not fun for a lot of people in this state, but also downright scary.
"Just once instead of the headlines 'Otter cuts grade schools' or 'Otter cuts education,' I'd like to see the headline 'Otter obeys constitution.,' " he said.
Yes, governor, you are obeying the constitution. Article VII, Section 11 of the Idaho Constitution says the Legislature can't spend more than what is brought in. Pat yourself on the back. Way to go.
There are, however, a lot of ways to obey the constitution, and they don't all include gutting education or doing away with public television.
Education is the largest chunk of the state pie, so it's natural to think that taking a little here and a little there from the budget is OK. The problem is, that's been going on for years, and there's not much left from which to take.
Otter has said repeatedly that he won't raise taxes. That's a great sound bite, and almost a sure-fire way to get re-elected, but it may not be in the best interest of Idaho.
No one wants to pay more taxes, but it's certainly something that should be looked at. It's not popular, and the Legislature will take some heat for it, but at least looking into it is the right thing to do.
Otter has been in the political arena for a long time. He's been around long enough to know that when he stepped onto that stage he opened himself up to criticism and praise.
If it's too much for him, or if it's just not fun enough, he can always step down.
Originally posted at http://www.dnews.com/story/opinion/49629/
The Opinion posted here is provided by permission of its original publisher and does not necessarily reflect the views of Idaho Public Television.