Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Dear Mr. Kempthorne

Regarding your proposal to spend some of the surplus tax money on Idaho citizens to assist with the higher costs of energy. Our own family would receive $300 under your proposal. $300 for one year.

The $300 you want to send us would be NICE, but it really wouldn't be much help for our family's financial and energy problems.

What I would suggest is that instead of sending a one-time "bonus" to Idahoans to assist with high energy bills, a better investment would be to appropriate the funds to Community Action Agencies to assist low-income families to weatherize their own homes with better windows, insulation, system repairs/upgrades, etc., so their energy costs can be lowered (for this year AND years to come!).

Even if it won't help my family, it will help many other families who really DO need the assistance for high energy expenses, and I would prefer our taxes to be invested in that way instead.

I also would like to see Idaho to appropriate some of those funds to ENFORCE Idaho State Code so landlords would be required to repair the windows, insulation, heating systems, etc. for the homes and apartments they collect rent from. I am not talking landlords in general (many are honest and ethical), but the OTHER ones... with the broken windows, leaking roofs, inadequate insulation, etc. Why should taxpayers be subsidizing the additional heating costs and repairs for properties which provide income to landlords? They should be responsible for maintaining their income property but nobody enforces the law.

The people who NEED energy assistance should be able to receive it... I'm sure we can all think of people who NEED the money ($300 is a LOT of money) vs. people who may not need it as desperately ("pocket change", country club dues, etc.).

I would much prefer our TAX dollars assist with a long-term fix, rather than a short-term "band-aid". I truly doubt that our energy costs will get any cheaper in the years to come... wouldn't it be wiser to help the people who won't be able to afford it next year either?

Diana Rowe Pauls
Gooding, ID

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