Ronald Harriman

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The May election is coming upon us and as you may know, due to the Covid 19 virus, all polling places will be closed. The election will be held completely by absentee ballots. 

If you are a registered voter, you will need to request an absentee ballot via idahovotes.gov. If you are not registered, you can visit the same site to register with a valid Idaho license. After registering, you will be able to request an absentee ballot. Please do not contact elections staff directly to register or request a ballot. 

Do not delay or you may miss the election.

Our concern:

With this in mind and considering the huge 10-16% increase in residential property taxes in 2019, plus the inability of the Legislature to provide a 1 year freeze on County and Municipal budget increases, even though they would have continued to receive 100% of new construction revenue. Until this problem is otherwise corrected, it is apparent we need to elect educated, experienced individuals who will not only listen to the people, but also understand comprehensive financial statements and contracts to the position of a County Commissioner.

Competence of the office:

The Canyon County Commissioners race this year is a crucial example. During 2019 residential property taxes soared upward by 10-16% and two of our Commissioners proposed an oversized Jail which would have raised property taxes by over $27,700,000 per year to pay the additional overhead and mortgage. They also spent $12,000,000 on a multi-year lease for temporary jail trailers that were to be in operation last June and are still not operable almost a year later. (Note: Commissioner Van Beek opposed the jail proposal and the Steel Trailers lease agreement.) When we challenged the Jail proposal with factual data, we were shocked that two of our commissioners had relied totally on the Sheriff and the developer’s proposal for the design, size and cost of the jail. When the property tax issue arose this year two of the commissioners were unaware of how new construction affected property taxes. This, unfortunately, was also true of many in the legislature.

Concerning property taxes:

We lobbied Senator Rice, Representative Collins with the Idaho Freedom Foundation in support of the House bill to freeze taxes and to create an interim committee to study and resolve the very apparent and unfair transfer of the property tax burden to residential properties during this year. Senator Rice and the Senate killed the tax freeze bill. Collins (now retired) and the House passed the bill. The result is that you can again this year, expect your property taxes to be similarly higher.

Ignoring the importance of Elections:

In retrospect, the problems we have with politics we actually deserve. We elect individuals who seem friendly and have a nice appearance to offices of a Commissioner that in private business would require highly experienced applicants capable of running corporations in competitive markets. Let’s commit ourselves to vote intelligently in the future for candidates that, other than Legislators, do not have to be trained before they can adequately represent the people effectively.

Editor's note: This column has been updated to reflect how 2C voters can register to vote and request an absentee ballot.

Ronald Harriman is the chairman of the Concerned Citizens of Canyon County.

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