(Reprinted from Representative Ron Nate’s Newsletter, April 15, 2021)
Representative Ron Nate (R-Rexburg) has been one of the leaders in the fight to ensure that Idahoan’s tax dollars are not squandered, or worse, spent on programs that are divisive and contrary to Idaho values. Representative Nate will be speaking in Pocatello this coming Saturday, April 17, at the monthly Liberty Dinner (see flyer, below).
In this article, originally published in Representative Nate’s weekly legislative newsletter, he explains that the word, “no,” can be positive when dealing with Idaho’s massive education budget.
When No is a Positive Word: Education Budgets
by: Representative Ron Nate
Last week the House voted down two key budget bills regarding education. Naturally, anyone directly related to education programs, schools, or administration regarding those budgets were concerned. But they don’t need to be concerned, here’s why. Let’s be clear on what a failed budget bill really means. It DOES NOT mean the program or department is “defunded” and will be discontinued. Instead, it means that particular budget proposal is not approved, and the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee (JFAC) must go back to the drawing board to draft a more acceptable budget bill. The program or department will be funded once the legislature decides on the best budget and intentions for it.
There are lots of reasons to vote against a budget bill. Here are a few:
- The proposed budget was too high.
- The proposed budget was too low.
- The budget included some spending items that were unacceptable.
- The budget omitted some spending items that were needed.
- The budget intent language was too restrictive or too lenient.
- The budget funding source needed to be changed.
- Technical errors in the budget bill.
If any of these problems are present, then good legislators should vote “NO” and then get to work on producing a better budget bill. That’s exactly what is happening with the budget bills to fund higher education (S1179) and public school teachers (H354). The higher education budget has several problems. The budget was too high, it includes spending on unacceptable items, and it needs added intent language. In my last newsletter I identified the unacceptable spending items supporting Social Justice activism and Critical Race Theory promotion on our campuses. The K-12 teacher’s budget is a good budget, but it needs additional intent language, also to protect teachers and students from having Social Justice and Critical Race Theory curriculum forced on teachers and students.
I’m confident we can get both the budgets right. The budget process will work for the benefit of all Idahoans. We need to fund excellent education at both the K-12 level and the college level without introducing pernicious and questionable programs that work against Idaho values and American idealism.