Friday, March 6, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Politics: An exercise in compromise

james column sig

By
From page A8 | November 18, 2012 |

One of the many attractions of Idaho as a retirement destination two years ago was the conservative political environment the state afforded. I was one of the many who agreed with political columnist Dan Walters (whose column appears regularly in the Daily Republic) that the Golden State was no longer governable because of the huge divide between political parties.

What was once a vibrant and healthy state whose legislators found some common ground has morphed into something less desirable where bickering and partisanship prevail. Unfortunately, I think that disease has also found its way to Washington, D.C.

It seems politicians want simple solutions to complicated issues. One side of the aisle wants to raise more money (taxes). The other says we should cut spending. Most citizens know that the answer exists somewhere in the middle.

From my vantage point, it appears California’s preferred solution is to find more money. Case in point: November’s successful Proposition 30 and Fairfield’s Measure P. Save the schools? Just write a check for about $6 billion each year by raising the sales tax 0.25 percent for a few years. Oh, and also increase the state’s tax rate on the wealthy for the next seven years.

Little, it seems, has been published about just where the money will go to help education. But somehow the money will improve performance in the classroom, right? After all, more money should result in improved education.

Idaho ranks near the bottom of spending per student among the 50 states (not necessarily a good thing), but continually ranks above the national average in achievement. It spends considerable less than California per student yet outshines California students when it comes to results.

The recession hit Fairfield hard, just like many cities across the state and nation. Voters (about two-thirds of them) decided it was worth increasing sales tax within the city borders 1 percent to generate about $60 million over the next five years to help the city bail itself out of its fiscal quagmire.

Police and firefighters will benefit, as will seniors, after-school programs and those using city parks. Those were the areas of greatest concern for city leaders who feared drastic cutbacks without the infusion of new money.

Maybe it’s a simpler life in Idaho, but our cities and state government are moving along without the near disaster proportions of California. Instead of sales tax rates approaching 9 and 10 percent in some communities, Idaho survives on 6 percent tax. State income taxes were about the same as California’s (that is until the new tax was approved in California on Nov. 6). Unemployment rates are about the same.

But there are some differences.

Idaho’s legislature passed three sweeping bills last year to truly reform the education system, one that ended tenure and limited collective bargaining for teachers, one that revised and essentially improved its pay-for-performance structure for teachers and one that guaranteed technology in the classroom for every student in the state.

There’s an interesting thing about those education reforms in Idaho: They were funded with existing dollars, with the exception of the technology proposition. There was some concern that long-term costs of computers would exceed estimates.

From Washington, D.C., came $2.8 million in national teacher union dollars to help fund a campaign to rescind those three laws. It was successful, so what were deemed revolutionary changes are, for the time being, shelved.

Maybe it’s a good thing, because now Idaho legislators will incorporate more discussion by teachers and settle on some laws that will keep most stakeholders, at least, somewhat satisfied.

My central point in all this is that cooperation and concessions are all part of the political process. Based on post-election discussion, that probably will occur in Idaho. I’m not sure that the political process in California (and in Washington, D.C.) incorporates those principles.

Idaho is far from perfect, but legislators here seem to understand that spending your way out of fiscal difficulty and raising taxes may be the quick solution but not the only and wisest. The legislature was willing to work on reforms that were tax neutral. Raising taxes was never part of the equation.

Voters were not ready to embrace all those changes, but at least no one had to reach deep into their pockets to pay for the reforms, even if they stayed in place as initially approved.

I hope Californians and Fairfielders get some bang for their bucks. More than $6 billion per year for schools and $60 million over the next five years for Fairfield adds up to a steep price tag for citizens who continue to be hammered from a recession that has lasted far too long.

The economic liability of California living was another reason I retired to conservative Idaho.

Bill James is a retired Daily Republic editor and publisher now living in Meridian, Idaho, a suburb of Boise.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Random thoughts on getting older by Annabelle . . . and Susan

By Susan Winlow | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
1 hurt as rash of Fairfield shootings continue

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1

Work progresses on freeway interchange project

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Caltrans announces planned I-80 closures

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A1

Let’s take a 2nd look at 1st cars

By Tony Wade | From Page: A2

 
Bike to School Day poster contest begins

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3

 
Youth talent, scholarship awards dinner set

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4

 
Free 8-week Journey Through Grief class set

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4

 
Audubon Society to hold talk on blackbird decline

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A4

Fairfield police log: March 4, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: March 4, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

.

US / World

SF hospital performs rare chain kidney swap

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
El niño might not be enough to help Ca drought

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Covered California down overall but up among youth, minorities

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
App developers take a swing at playgrounds

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Supreme Court allows for compassionate release

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Off-duty officer accidentally shoots relative

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Student protests block access to campus

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
GOP legislator enters race for Boxer’s seat

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Japanese tsunami debris washing ashore

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Device in ‘Superbug’ outbreak not approved by FDA

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

States on edge about the future of health insurance markets

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Freight train carrying crude oil derails in Illinois

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Air Force veteran who saved orphans in Korean War dies at 97

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
Homeowners group denies playhouse for cancer-stricken girl

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Report: Suicides by girls and young women continue to climb

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Jurors in Jodi Arias case: We were 11-1 for death penalty

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Experts: Ferguson must move quickly to rebuild public trust

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Plane skids off LaGuardia runway, slams into fence near bay

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7 | Gallery

Father tells jury about boy’s death at Boston Marathon

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Hillary Clinton email trove under review for release

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Iraq says Islamic State militants ‘bulldozed’ ancient site

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Attack on US envoy part of S.Korea’s violent protest history

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

Last Ebola patient is released in Liberia

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Floods kill 42 people in Tanzania, authorities say

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Death toll in east Ukraine mine blast reaches 33

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Syria says it killed military leader of al-Qaida group

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Companies form coalition to conserve during drought

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
.

Living

Today in History: March 6, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: March 6, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: March 6, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
Should I tell my coworker that her romantic emails are being read at work?

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

Shania Twain to launch final tour in June

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Elizabeth McCracken wins $20,000 short story prize

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Dying wish comes true: Dutch woman with ALS sees Rembrandts

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Announcer Craig Sager returns from leukemia to NBA sideline

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Comedy Central’s ‘Too Many Stars’ means plenty of laughs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Jaime Camil shines as telenovela star on ‘Jane the Virgin’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Review: ‘Second Best’ Marigold Hotel lives up to its title

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Review: ‘Unfinished Business’ should never have started

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Entertainment calendar: March 6, 2015

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B4

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic | From Page: B6

 
.

Sports

 
Maddon makes debut with Cubs in spring tie with A’s

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Hunter Pence breaks arm in Giants’ 8-6 win over Cubs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
 
Jones-Drew retires, Woodley released by Raiders

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Veteran defensive tackle Dockett joins 49ers on 2-year deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Ashley, McConnell lead No. 5 Arizona to 99-60 rout of Cal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Holmes opens 4-shot PGA lead at Blue Monster

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Local Report: Labit pitches SCC to win over Folsom Lake

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B8

Prosecutors: No criminal charge for NASCAR driver Kurt Busch

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
As NFLPA election looms, Smith hopes to keep ‘boring job’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

This date in sports history for March 6, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
.

Business

Toyota rolls out first mass-market cars to run on hydrogen fuel cells

By The Washington Post | From Page: C1 | Gallery

 
Applications for US jobless aid inch up to a 10-month high

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

A robust US job market is expected to keep delivering

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Largest US banks all pass latest round of Fed ‘stress tests’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Ringling Bros. Circus to give up elephant acts in 3 years

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11 | Gallery

 
Google providing car insurance quotes in latest expansion

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Can Etsy keep its folksy brand and make shareholders money?

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
.

Obituaries

Michele Jarvis

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Thelma A. Roche

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Robert Charles Thierry

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9