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Balance the budget: It's the law, Mike - Guest Opinion

by John M. Clark
| November 11, 2010 11:50 AM

Mike Ruskovich would have your readers believe he strokes that long white beard and just like "Abe" comes out with inarguable statements. I think this beard has shades of gray. Attacks on the qualifications of elected officials suggest crybaby attitudes and propose the voters don't have the ability to choose who they prefer in office because the person was not his choice. And the attempts at misdirection on how our Idaho Constitution works don't even come close to inarguable.

Mike should try reading the State of Idaho CONSTITUTION. If one takes the time and reads slowly and carefully, a section called "mandatory balancing" of the budget becomes clear.

Idaho State framers knew not to spend more than you have; that is why we hold the line. Seems like this is a good example to set for our kids, but Mike would mortgage future kids to fund a current budget. Obama wants Mike in his Cabinet!

All state government officers are required to meet the balanced budget requirement. It is not optional, Mike, it is law. Their continued employment depends on budgeting only those funds, albeit with a few exceptions, that are anticipated to be collected. Tom Luna supported the cuts in the school budget because he knew it was the best the state could do while staying out of debt.

IEA had input to the budget process, too, thanks to many meetings with the governor and his "monsters." IEA actually took a lower percentage hit on their budget than many other Idaho agencies. No department received all the funds they wanted, but if you look at something other than just the pictures in The Press, you will realize our nation is in a recession.

I recall Butch Otter as being instrumental in the Albertsons College program and CEU programs. NIC has always considered him a friend regardless of Mike's opinion that a grad from NIC is not capable of being a local or state leader. Otter has worked hard to help facilitate programs for extension programs from UI, Lewis-Clark State, Boise State and others, to areas like Sandpoint, Kellogg and Coeur d'Alene. This has nothing to do with a "D."

Otter dipped as far as legally possible into emergency funds to help schools. Sounds like he really hates Johnny but there is just so much money that can be allocated. Mike would simply ignore the needs of OTHER state agencies in order to fund his library. He still lives in Blanchard, right? Of course the library is important but so are programs for the poor and seniors and hungry and homeless kids. It took hundreds of dedicated individuals working long hours to allocate what state funds there are available and local bond issues are a county by county problem, not usually a state challenge.

Has Coeur d'Alene School District boss Hazel Bauman called Mike yet? She might take exception to his characterization of Idaho schools. It was her hard work, and the dedication of her teachers, creating those high marks in NATIONAL recent rankings for math and science. This was with the co-operation and assistance of the State Department of Education. Very often, our teachers, administrators and state officers actually put politics aside and make the kids first!

What the late William F. Buckley Jr. said applies to Mike's generalization and mischaracterization of our Legislators: Buckley felt the first hundred people in the Boston phone book would do a better job administering than the elected officials. His rationale was simple: Education alone has never been proven to be the only requirement for a good manager. For that matter, education and credentials do not automatically give someone the ability to effectively present a particular side of an issue. Mike proved that with his letter.

Abe was mostly self-taught, by the way.

John M. Clark is a Hayden resident.

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