I read Heather Disselkoen’s commentary in the Sept. 6 Idaho State Journal. She recounts findings of the group Pocatello for Accountable Government Entities. Combining my experience and some research I choose to ignore P.A.G.E.
P.A.G.E. concentrates on taxes and governance process rather than quality of life in Pocatello. Quality of life is what tax dollars for governance buys. In overall tax burden, Idaho ranks 48th in the nation for per-capita taxes. I bought my first house in Pocatello in 1970.
I’ve moved many times to other communities before returning to Pocatello. I find my Pocatello tax burden compared to quality of life to be a bargain. I do not perceive that Pocatello government is corrupt or incompetent. We all make mistakes from time to time.
P.A.G.E. asks what Pocatello taxpayers get? Pocatello is a clean, safe, well-functioning city. Water, sewer, trash, roads, recycling all work. Parks and open spaces are maintained. Emergency services and library are good. City government leverages tax dollars through collaboration with other public-private entities. School District 25 is one of the best in the state.
Collaboration has attracted and sustained public-private investment such as the FBI Data Center, ON Semiconductor, Portneuf Medical Center, Great Western Malting and others. Pocatello government is forward looking. We have a research university and are making progress toward becoming a real university town.
Collaboration with other entities including Chubbuck and Bannock County has expanded our Greenway, improved the Portneuf River, created Brooklyn’s Playground and the Portneuf Wellness Complex. You can think of more.
A trend in Idaho conservative politics is to block quality of life improvements to provide the rich with even more money.
Idaho Freedom Foundation and presumably P.A.G.E. pushes for lower taxes and privatization of government services at the expense of quality government talent, safer roads, public education, health care, public properties, and more.
Pay attention to government actions but ignore tax whiners. If P.A.G.E. wants to do some real good, they can engage with making Pocatello’s economy more robust.