Support schools, not HB332
I urge our Idaho senators to vote no on House Bill 332. The bill is titled the “tax relief” bill, and would reduce income taxes and send a one-time rebate check to Idahoans. While this sounds like it might be a useful thing these days, it actually won’t be providing much help to those that need it most. The minimum tax rebate checks would only be $50, with the average low-income Idahoan receiving $78 (according to the Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy). This amount is not significant enough to make a difference to most low-income Idahoans.
A better investment of the money being directed toward HB332 is to invest in our public schools. Idaho is currently dead last out of 50 states in per-student funding in K-12 education. If we are serious about helping low-income Idahoans, let’s provide resources so that our schools can meet the needs of students who have been impacted by the pandemic, and who are worth the investment. Stronger schools, stronger state.
I hope our state senators will have the foresight to put a stop to HB332.
Shots in arms save lives
Through miracles and tireless work, researchers developed and proved several COVID-19 vaccines in less than a year. Betting on their success, our government ordered large quantities, which began delivering in December. We are at a tipping point: Initial phase-in scarcities of vaccines are giving way to plentiful supplies. Millions of doses are being manufactured and administered daily, and the end of the pandemic is in sight.
Congratulations, Idaho Gov. Brad Little, for expanding vaccine eligibility to all Idahoans over 16 years old, beginning April 5. And, congratulations again for giving health districts the latitude and freedom to tailor vaccine administration locally.
In Washington, though, state allocations are rigorously controlled. This leads to unused appointments and delays in getting people vaccinated. “Qualified” people may not know they qualify, the rules are so complex. Processes become stalemated, and valuable time is wasted calling people and explaining the complex rules.
I urge Gov. Jay Inslee to liberalize vaccine distribution. By empowering county health officials and health-care providers, more folks will decide to get vaccinated sooner.
Shots in arms save lives; doses in freezers don’t. Liberal distribution means healthier folks, less trauma, and more hugs.
Edmund O. Schweitzer III