From The Statehouse
by State Senator Jim Guthrie
I wanted it but it wanted no part of me. My inability to sleep pushed me to the field much earlier than I preferred but I figured I might as well go back and forth in the field as roll back and forth in bed. Besides, I feel behind. My crops need planting and I must finish harrowing before I can start drilling barley.
I find this early morning particularly frosty as I wait for the tractor engine to build enough heat to allow the heater to offset the chill. After about thirty minutes I notice that the softball and football sized clumps of dirt normally reduced to fist-size by the harrows, remained. Puzzled I bailed out of my now quite comfortable tractor to inspect.
Upon review I realized that the temperature was so cold the chunks of Marsh Valley soil were frozen solid. Modern machinery was no match for the tart overnight frost provided with ease by Mother Nature. Frustrated I decided I might as well get an early start on chores and at least do something productive.
This transition provided little relief as I realized that here it’s late April and I’m still feeding cows. Normally they would be on pasture by now, but this spring has been so cold, dry and windy, range conditions have suffered. So for at least a few more days I’ll roll out two-hundred dollar per ton hay at four times the cost of grass. I’ll admit I allowed this pity party for one to sustain for most of the day until I listened to the weather report on the 10 o’clock news.
While it was cold in McCammon it was 10 below in West Yellowstone. Sure makes a little frozen ground and expensive hay much easier to swallow. Perspective has a funny way of doing that. It gets you to thinking about how your glass is half full; you can make lemonade from lemons, and the sun will come up tomorrow.
Proper perspective and balance is so important if we are to be consistently successful. I saw examples of that this legislative session. I felt like local taxing districts and organizations really stepped up to the plate. For more than a year prior to the 2013 session there were concerns over what would happen to their revenue streams if the business personal property tax was repealed.
But instead of burrowing their heads in the sand they suited up and came to play. Counties, cities, school districts, and others worked with legislators and lobby groups to find a practical solution. Extreme fringe positions of absolutely no repeal or the polar opposite of total repeal with no replacement dollars gave way to some middle ground.
Without question not everyone is happy and this issue may be revisited at some point. But my guess is that before anything else happens we will have time to evaluate if it benefits us to move further down this particular tax relief road.
I also felt like there was a significant difference in the attitude toward education. I realize some frustration continues as we try to reclaim funding levels afforded us during better times. But it seemed to me that the IEA, school boards associations, legislators, and executive branch worked together better than in past years. While some may feel the changes were subtle, I am optimistic that the corner to better working relationships has been turned.
Country star Lynn Anderson used to sing “I never promised you a rose garden” and I’ll not pretend all is roses either. There remains significant concern and difference opinion on the health exchange issue. We are fortunate to have local Rep. Kelley Packer on that working group and I know they will make every effort to protect Idaho’s interest.
I want to thank the mayors, councilmen, commissioners, school officials, chambers of commerce members, and especially the citizens from Power and Bannock counties for your feedback and perspective this session. That input helps more than you know. Your commitment to making things better for Idaho is impressive. Speaking of impressive, the sun is out, wind is light and variable, and it’s suppose to hit 70 degrees. Yes, it’s going to be a great day.