Doyle Beck, contributor
I have been critical of Frank VanderSloot for his past support of leftist
causes/organizations/candidates. But today, I want to express my sincere gratitude to Frank for opposing House Bill 24, the bill that would create Gov. Brad Little’s “Idaho Launch” scholarship of $8,500 for every high school graduate.
In his letter to state senators who will now consider the bill (having passed the House 36-34),
Frank wrote that the bill is “rightly labeled a liberal bill” and worried that the measure would lead
to a lot of government waste and cronyism. “Whenever you give money away with no
requirements, it has little chance of producing any desired result,” he wrote. He noted that
“special interests will have total control of what industries receive the $100 million” expected to
be spent under the legislation. An unelected, unaccountable board (the Workforce Development
Council) would decide where the money goes and to which professions, Frank noted.
Since the vote in the House of Representatives, questions have lingered over comments from a
lead sponsor of the legislation that the bill will help a company – a huge donor of Gov. Little’s –
hire welders, creating a pay-to-play cloud over the proposal, intentionally or unintentionally.
Much of Frank’s letter mirrors the Republican Platform and supports the cautions spelled out by
conservatives in the House of Representatives who warned the program will get unbearably
expensive quickly and is predicated on the ideas of a centralized, socialized economy. Of the 59
House Republicans, 34 opposed the legislation with 25 liberal Republicans teaming up with the
11 Democrats to pass the bill in the House (36-34). So it's important to note the majority of
House Republicans do not support this legislation.
Frank’s decision to take this position is no doubt not easy. The governor wants this bill to pass
badly. He talked about it in his State of the State address in January. The Idaho Association of
Commerce and Industry supports it; the group’s president spoke in favor of the bill when it was
considered by the House Education Committee. Until Frank came out in opposition, only the
Idaho Freedom Foundation was on record opposing the legislation.
I hope others will follow suit of Frank’s willingness to take on the governor over a key piece of
his policy, it is very refreshing, because it’s the right thing to do. Let Frank know that you
appreciate his bold stance in defense of Idaho taxpayers, our free-market economy, and the
cause of liberty.