Here's the entire text of a news release issued Tuesday by the House and Senate minority leadership team:
Democratic Leaders Respond to the End of the 60th Legislative Session
Boise – For Democratic Legislators, the 2010 legislative session was difficult. Democrats came to Boise in January ready to face Idaho’s economic problems by introducing a package of bills filled with innovations for enhancing economic development.
“We listened to what our constituents were telling us back in our districts and came to Boise ready to focus on jobs and the economy during the 2010 legislative session,” said House Minority Leader John Rusche of Lewiston.“That is why we brought our IJOBs proposal to the Legislature – to focus on job opportunities for Idahoans and help ensure that Idaho becomes an economic leader in the 21st Century.”
Despite Democratic legislators’ attempts to work with majority leadership and the Governor’s office, none of the Democratic IJOBs proposals will become law. Instead Republican legislators drafted and passed over a dozen pieces of legislation telling the federal government to “Keep out” of Idaho’s business.
“Instead of pursuing job creation, this session has been marked by bills, resolutions and memorials meant to take on the Federal government,” said Senate Minority Leader Kate Kelly. “The 2010 legislative session was filled with political statements that at best do nothing and at worst will cost scarce resources to defend in court. Job creation for lawyers is not a goal we should be pursuing.”
Legislative budget analysts suggest that the changes adopted this year may actually cost Idaho more than 5,000 jobs in the public and private sectors. As a result of this session, services needed by families hurt by the recession will be reduced. College and training opportunities for displaced workers will be reduced. The fundamental education available in our public schools will be reduced.
“The impact of these choices will play out over the next 18 months and affect every Idahoan,” continued Sen. Kelly. “Cuts will mean less law enforcement officers on duty, more students in classrooms, less help for Idahoans in need of food or medical services, higher fees for students at our colleges and universities, and neglected maintenance work on our roads, our parks, and our schools.”
In the interim months, Democratic legislators will work with their constituents to understand and deal with the results of the recent session.
“As the economy recovers, which we all hope happens soon, we will be working with our colleagues in the Majority and with the Governor to rebuild schools, higher education, and the safety net for our citizens,” said Rep. Rusche. “We will be working to promote a vision of opportunity and prosperity for Idaho as we go forward.”