Idaho legislators and gubernatorial candidates are trying to out-crazy each other by picking a fight with the feds
By Mary Lou Reed
Idaho's right-wing Republican candidates are talking pie-in-the-sky again. This time, in the spirit of Cliven Bundy, they're after control of Idaho's federal lands. Three gubernatorial candidates and a passel of local contenders have claimed taking over the federal lands as their top legislative priority.
You can be assured none of these candidates mention the possible dollar cost to the state and its taxpayers of such a radical change. Does a $1.5 billion price tag in the first 10 years grab your attention? Or the loss of 2,500 middle-class federal jobs? According to Dr. Evan Hjerpe, an economist with the Conservation Economics Institute, a state takeover of federal lands would deal that size of a cruel blow to Idaho's treasury.
The fuzzy-minded candidates may be dreaming that enormous, imaginary wealth would stream into the state treasury if they could just arrange for the state to get out from under federal regulations and sell off the timber and other natural resources — maybe even sell the land itself.
They can dream on. The reality is that the transfer from federal to state of costs of fire suppression, timber management and road maintenance would far outweigh the potential revenue to the state from timber sales. And just where is this market for raw logs? China and Japan? Why did so many lumber mills disappear from North Idaho? And are the highly educated Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management positions to be replaced, in the Idaho tradition, by minimum wage jobs?
Read More at Inlander.com
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Kootenai Democrats are the organizing committee for Democratic activities in Kootenai County.