Mary Haley on Education

Section 1 of the Idaho state constitution July 3rd 1890.


(The) Legislature to establish system of free schools. The stability of a republican form of government depending mainly upon the intelligence of the people, it shall be the duty of the legislature of Idaho, to establish and maintain a general, uniform and thorough system of public, free common schools (Legeslature).


 In 2005 The Idaho Supreme Court ordered the legislature to fund schools so that the construction and repair of schools was in compliance with the Idaho Constitution.  The Legislatures’ response was to kill a popular voter initiative by shifting property tax to sales tax.  This destabilized educational funding and immediately decreased the available funds to schools by over 50 million (iStockAnalysis). 

In 2008, a federal court dismissed Kress v. Copple-Trout based on procedural reasons not substance. In this case the plaintiffs asked the court to require the state to follow through on its ruling in 2005 (Educational Law Center). 

In my opinion the Legislature has purposefully ignored its constitutional responsibilities for over a decade, and our children and our state are suffering for it.  I will work tirelessly to renew our commitment to our schools.  We do not have a uniform and fair systems and it is the more rural parts of the state that suffers.  Boise and the cities pass bonds to back fill the intentional neglect of our legislature while more rural areas decrease their school weeks to four days and struggle in antiquated facilities. 

To make matters worse the Legislature passes down unfunded mandates, like the Student’s Come First Initiative which was imported from California (StudentsFirst).  There are good things from this California movement, but this law was introduced and shoved through the legislature without input from parents, students, or teachers!  Since when is California our model of how to run our education?  It is not a rural state and it has never had the fiscal responsibility that we have.  Shouldn’t Idahoans have input in their own schools?  Instead the Legislature invented a financial crisis by low balling the revenue by millions of dollars, cutting schools to the bone, again, 26% cut in higher education (Corbin), so that they could experiment with our schools without our input.

We need a bipartisan, inclusive, and ongoing discussion on how to make Idaho’s educational system the best in the Country.  This discussion should include all parties including parents, students, and teachers.  There is a lot that needs to be fixed in our schools.  We are 49th  out of 50 states in the nation for sending our students to college and that is not because they don’t want to go, but because we are breaking our Constitution and pricing education out of their reach. 

Our pioneer for-fathers and mothers understood the future of our state lies in the education of its children.  We need to send people like myself to Boise who understands this as well.

Works Cited

Corbin, Clark. "Barrett Against Budget Boost." Idaho Falls Post Register 17 March 2012: 2012.

Educational Law Center. Educational Justice. 2011. 17 March 2012 <>.

iStockAnalysis. Idaho Tax Shift May Hurt Schools. 2011. 17 March 2012 <<>.>.

Legeslature, State of idaho. Idaho Constitutin. 2012. 17th March 2012 <>.

StudentsFirst. StudentsFirst a movement to transform education. 2012. 17 March 2012 <>.

Mary Haley on Job Creation

Idaho has an unemployment rate of 8.1% and is 32 in the nation for unemployment (Labor).    Our neighbor to the south Utah is at 5.7%.  The difference is that Utah has been providing technical support and an educated work force to draw in startup companies.  I support the job creation bill IGEM, but for it to be truly affective we also need to fully support our schools, specifically higher education in both community colleges, business colleges, and our universities.  

It is not enough to decrease our unemployment rate through low paying jobs.  We need jobs that are high enough paying to create their own economic mini climate.  A person who is paid minimum wage can barely survive; they certainly don’t eat out and shop for anything but the basics.  They are not the engine of a well paid, stable, middle class employee. 

Employers will bring good paying jobs will come into this state based on more than tax breaks.  They need a highly educated work force.  Idaho is 49th out of 50 states for our students going on to college, because we have priced our schools out of many people’s reach.   They also need help through our universities to have the latest inventions and knowledge.  This partnership can only be sustained in out higher education is sustained.  The 8.6% increase in higher education is a third of what the legislature took away just last year (Corbin). 

I support well paying jobs in Idaho by increasing access and funding to our Universities and Colleges. 

Works Cited

Corbin, Clark. "Barrett Against Budget Boost." Idaho Falls Post Register 17 March 2012: 1.

Labor, United States Department of. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 13 March 2012. 17 March 2012 <>.

Mary Haley on Taxes

There are three kinds of taxes.  Progressive taxes, tax the rich at a slightly higher rate than the poor or middle class like, property tax and income tax.  Idaho income tax, however, is not a good example a progressive taxes since those that make $25,000 are taxed at the highest rate just like those that make $2.5 million a year.  Flat taxes effect everyone at the same rate; our income tax is much more a flat tax than anything else, especially when you add in all the tax exemptions.  And then there are regressive taxes that tax the poor at a much higher rate than the rich.  Sales tax and fees to use state lands and resources are an example of this.  I believe the overall tax structure should be mildly progressive or flat.

This used to be the Republican position under Ronald Regan, but the tax shift of 2006 has turned our income stream upside down so the poorer one is in this state the higher their overall tax burden.  Governor Risch, in a one day special session that put into law a back room deal with no debate destabilized our school and our economy (iStockAnalyst).  It is simply a matter of fairness; everyone should pay their fair share, even the rich.

I believe that when Boise passes a law they should fund it, not pass the tax burden on to the county and the city to try to collect the money on a law they didn’t vote for.  This is irresponsible.  Student’s Come First is a classic example.  The increase in technology is an admirable goal, but there is no recognition that smaller rural communities don’t have the infrastructure to support it, and no money to help them provide it.  The supposed point of the tax shift was to decrease property taxes, but by not providing for schools at even the same amount as before local communities have no choice but to raise property taxes again.   What we get is the worst of both worlds.  The tax burden is unfairly put on those that can’t pay for it, we have millions less in education, over 50 million less the first year, another 80 million less last year, and this burden is then shifted to the districts who have to raise taxes.  Taxes don’t go down, just the blame for the tax increase goes to the local officials.  No one is asking how much are we paying overall.  For most of us our taxes actually increased under the 2006 tax shift as our higher education was cut last year by 26% (Corbin).

We need someone who will look at the overall picture and create a fair tax code that allows us all to pay the minimum amount of a fair distribution, and someone who will hold Boise accountable for their unfunded mandates where they simply pass laws, and pass the budgetary headaches on to someone else.  Don’t we get enough of that from Washington DC?

Works Cited

Corbin, Clark. "Barrett Against Budget Boost." Idaho Falls Post Register 17 March 2012: 1.

iStockAnalyst. Idaho Tax Shift May Hurt Schools. 2011. 17 march 2012 <>.

Mary Haley on Ethics

Soon to come.

    Mary Haley,
    Sep 16, 2012, 11:21 AM