Establishment Republicans and Liberal Democrats Unite Against the Taxpayer

Idaho has a serious higher education problem. In the last five years alone, the state of Idaho has thrown more than $100 million at the goal of increasing the postsecondary graduation rate, yet despite all of these millions that have been taken from taxpayers; the graduation rate remains essentially unchanged.

One of the most significant portions of this funding is used for what is known as the “Idaho Opportunity Scholarship,” and for 2018, someone came up with a proposal to divert up to 20 percent of the funds that are available for this scholarship to adults who had completed some college but left before finishing their degree.

Rep. Bryan Zollinger (R-District 33) succinctly summarized the bill by saying it “allows up to 20% of stolen taxpayer money to be used for scholarships for adults returning to school and takes money from scholarships for kids.”

This bill, known officially as SB 1279, passed the Idaho House last Monday by a narrow margin (37-32) and stands as a sad example of a minority of establishment Republicans siding with liberal Democrats to overcome wise opposition by a majority of conservative Republicans, among which are many of my friends and supporters including Rep. Dorothy Moon (R-District 8), Rep. Judy Boyle (R-District 9), and Rep. Bryan Zollinger (R-District 33).

My opponents in the House and Senate, on the other hand, are among those who voted with the Democrats in favor of this foolish proposal.

Idahoans deserve elected officials who support a primary education system built for our needs and not one designed purely to funnel students into higher education. Idahoans deserve a Lieutenant Governor who hasn’t voted to siphon money away from young people in order to subsidize adults who have already tried higher education and found it wasn’t for them.

Idaho’s future hangs in the balance and the people Idahoans choose to elect on May 15 will have a major influence on our state for years to come. Please consider your options carefully and select only those candidates who will stand up for smaller and more accountable government, wise stewardship of our finances, and a primary education system that prepares students for real life rather than just more years of sitting in a lecture hall.

Together, we can build a better and more prosperous Idaho for us and for our children.

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