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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

For the week of April 23 - 29, 2003


Pay for performance

There are two bits of wisdom that should apply to Idaho’s Legislature, which will today hit the 108th day of its session.

First: Nothing focuses the mind like a deadline.

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 near standstill.

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 session ends.

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.


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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.