Sunday, January 11, 2009

Idaho Legislature Starts Tomorrow

Tomorrow morning, Idaho's legislature convenes for the annual session, and it promises to be a painful session. I presented on Wednesday to the Economic Revenue and Assessment Joint Committee (or whatever it's named this year!) and commented I started my career working with the legislature before this same committee in the 1984 session! I've been working with the Idaho Legislature longer than most, and there are less than a handful of legislators and other elected officials who pre-date my run at the Idaho political game. Having weathered the legislative process for so long, I've been an active participant and a bemused observer in many of the larger battles in Idaho's recent political history. I have also witnessed the ups and downs of the budget, and we enter this session with an economy that can only be described as frightening. Given the global nature of the economic debacle, there isn't a lot the Legislature can do -- or is likely willing to do -- but weather the storm. There are necessary public policy priorities like investing in our crumbling roads and bridges, but even that obvious need will take a backseat to the economic reality coupled with the inevitable and inherent political jockeying that often pits legislators against each other for the sport of it rather than for what's best for the state. It should be quite a show, but I say that every year.

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