Pay for performance
There are two bits of wisdom that should
apply to Idaho’s Legislature, which will today hit the 108th day of
First: Nothing focuses the mind like a
Second: Pay should reflect performance.
The most Republican Legislature in the
nation is split about what to do about the state’s projected deficit.
Early-session dallying has combined with the split to bring the Legislature to a
Even though the House and Senate approved
a one-cent on the dollar increase in the sales tax last week, it still has a
hole of between $20 million and $40 million to fill—and no way to fill it.
The radical House Republicans’ favorite
solution is to do nothing and make the governor balance the budget through
spending holdbacks and cuts.
The gap between budget and revenue is real
money that will affect real families, schools and communities. Yet, this matters
not a whit to the extremists, whose goal seems to be to dismantle Idaho’s
government insofar as possible.
The standoff between the extremists and
moderates in both houses is costing taxpayers $30,000 a day. Disagreements have
become so drawn out that some legislators have taken vacations and installed
non-elected substitutes to take their places.
There’s a better way.
After the 90th day of any
session, compensation for legislators should be cut in half. Ten days later it
should be cut in half again. If legislators end up working for nothing, it will
be their own fault.
The rule that allows legislators to
install substitutes should be overturned and vacations prohibited until a
Outside the capitol’s marble halls, people
get paid for performance and for meeting deadlines. It’s time to force
legislators to live up to the same standards.