November 1, 2022
The Great Divide
By: Bannock County Commissioner Jeff Hough
We live in a time like no other. Everywhere you look, there is division, and it appears like a middle ground no longer exists. People like to look backward at various events and say that was the starting point for the division. The truth is division has always been present, but the level of fearmongering and misinformation has reached new heights.
Politics has always been a hotbed for division, which is what the Framers intended. They felt the benefit of the vigorous debate was worthwhile and would strengthen the Country. As the Country grew and issues became more sensitive, the discussions grew fiercer, with tempers flaring. Eventually, the Country was torn apart by a civil war, only to end when a brave president stood up for what was right.
The problem with today’s divisiveness is it isn’t based on rational thought. Too often, the public is fed information contrary to common sense. The overall storyline is to tell any narrative long enough until it becomes the truth. The problem is the original narrative is based on something other than reality. It is fiction. The public is constantly told that white is black and black is white.
This false narrative is damaging our Country and our communities. As a people, we have become a soundbite society, often failing to look beyond the headline. Too often, a sliver of truth is twisted to fit an agenda with no regard for truth or consequence. With this constant barrage of false narratives and agendas, it is no wonder we are so divided.
During a recent League of Women Voters debate, one of the Democratic candidates for Commissioner stated that the county budget has increased by over $20 million in the last couple of years. This would represent over a 25% increase over the previous two years! At face value, that is an outrageous amount for a budget to increase, and we should kick those responsible out of office. Yet, a cursory look at the actual budget reveals that most of the increased budget came from the increased receipt of grant funds, not spending growth.
The statement made by the Democratic candidate is a misdirection, conflating the total budget with the amount attributable to property taxes. It would be impossible for the portion of a county budget derived from property taxes to increase that much in two years. Idaho code stipulates that the property tax funded portion of a county budget can’t grow more than up to 5% a year. For this candidate to push a misleading narrative to serve their political agenda is wrong. It is rhetoric designed to inflame already charged masses without being completely honest. The fact is, I’ve been at the forefront of finding ways to fund county spending without placing additional burdens on property owners. If you can’t take the time to get the facts right, how can the public trust you to do the job?
Bannock County has a lot to offer, and we stand on the cusp of great things. However, to bring these opportunities to fruition, leadership has to be united in doing something for the greater good. I have been in office for two years, built many relationships, and gained crucial knowledge that has proven beneficial to the County. I continue to work at the State and National levels bringing awareness of our County’s needs and much-needed benefits to our community.
I would appreciate the opportunity to earn your vote and continue working for Bannock County. Earlier this year, I visited with local high school students on what it would take to bring them back home. We developed a list of things to work on, and I am happy to say we are making progress.
This year my campaign theme is “Creating a place to come home to.” I look forward to continuing working for that purpose and uniting our divided community.