High quality Schooling Act petitions accessible; Reclaim Idaho founder visits, presents hope to reduce tax burden on property house owners | Information
GRANGEVILLE – “A child’s education shouldn’t rely on their zip code,” said Luke Mayville of Reclaim Idaho.
Mayville met with about 15 volunteers in Grangeville on Friday, September 3rd. He was in the area promoting the Quality Education Act. Reclaim Idaho’s main organizing tactic is electoral initiative. There are currently petitions for this law and local volunteers are looking for signatures in District 7.
“This is sensible tax reform that will do a lot of good,” Mayville said, saying the law calls for the restoration of corporate tax rates as well as a modest increase in tax rates for couples making more than $ 500,000 a year and individuals who earn more than $ 250,000 a year.
“The tax would only be levied on what they earn, which is above that amount,” he said.
Mayville said “Reclaim Idaho” is merely trying to reclaim the Idaho Constitution, which says “It is the duty of the Idaho Legislature to establish and maintain a universal, consistent, and thorough system of public, free community schools” (Article IX, Part 1).
“This should have great local appeal as this bill takes the burden off the landowner,” Mayville said.
The funds would go towards programs (including special education, all-day kindergartens, and other much-needed areas) as well as competitive salaries for teachers to make them more inclined to stay in Idaho, Mayville said.
Kamiah volunteer Larry Nims shared some ideas on how to talk to locals about the initiative.
“My grandchildren in Boise have so much more choice in teaching than the kids in Kamiah or anywhere else,” he said.
Mayville said personal stories about how few electives and courses are offered like on-site business are a great way to bring the topic up with people.
He also spoke about the historic August 23 victory of the Idaho Supreme Court, which overturned a restrictive new initiative law passed by Idaho law that year, making it unconstitutional.
“The Idaho Legislature and Little Government voted for Idaho to have the most restrictive laws of initiative in the nation despite many testifying and opposed to it,” he said. “You wanted to end the process and it backfired.”
He said in an unprecedented move, followed for the first time in 41 years, the court applied the private attorney doctrine, which is a just principle that allows a party to bring a lawsuit that will benefit a significant number of people or the enforcement of an important right affecting the public interest to collect attorney’s fees. The purpose of the doctrine is to promote lawsuits of social importance that private parties would otherwise have no incentive to pursue.
“So we’re going to get our legal fees back, which is exceptional,” he said.
Grangeville volunteer Shelly Dumas had questions about the cost of the lawsuit, and Mayville estimated it at $ 500,000 but said it could be much higher.
“All of that could have been used for education,” Grangeville volunteer Jennifer Artley shook her head.
Laura Embry and Jennifer Artley.
Mayville said Legislative District 7, which spans Grangeville all the way to Sandpoint, is “critical to getting the state through Medicaid reform.” He thanked Grangeville volunteers Laura Embry, Shireene Hale, and others for their work on the initiatives.
The district needs approximately 2,000 signatures for the Quality Education Act. Anyone interested in more information or to sign a petition can visit www.reclaimidaho.org or contact Embry at firstname.lastname@example.org.