Idaho politics: Does the latest Allred ad take liberties with recent history?

In his latest TV ad, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Keith Allred conflates two of his main campaign talking points.

He criticizes Republican Gov. Butch Otter for presiding over a $128 million budget cut to public schools, while pushing a tax increase.

The latter is a reference to Otter's push for gas tax and vehicle registration fee increases, the defining battle of the 177-day 2009 legislative session. The 7.5 percent cut to public schools came a year later; after failing to get tax and fee increases in 2009, Otter made no funding push during the 2010 session.

Allred's timing may be off, but is the message on point? Watch the ad and judge for yourself:

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Talk about apples and oranges, it apprears the Allred people are "stretching" the truth in trying to make that connection.

So what is true about anything that Allred is saying if he keeps putting half truths together to make a "whole" story?


Even without watching the ad, we can conclude the answer.

Allred's ads and others have become examples of lies. Politics as usual.
I bet there's a Statesman writer writing Allred's ads.


I notice on Facebook, Dan Popkey "likes" Keith Allred. Imagine that.


Seriously? Maybe Dan wants to keep up to date on what the candidates say on their official page. I noticed that you didn't mention Dan also "likes" Vaughan Ward, Norm Semanko and Jana Kemp as well as the Idaho Senate Majority page. Surely you didn't overlook that? Imagine that.

yep. that's the way you follow someone on Facebook

by using the 'like' feature. It doesn't mean you specifically like them. Personally, I wish Facebook would pick a different term, such as Twitter's 'follow.'

Statesman Style

Ah you caught that?

See I was just using the Statesman style of writing by only writing part of the story- the part I wanted to use to try to make a point.
I admit it was not a good point- you got me. I was just in a hurry to post before by blog deadline. :-)


Dan also has Butch Otter has a "friend" on Facebook.

Which brings one of the crazy points of Facebook.

Meaning what exactly?

Oh yeah, nothing!
Exactly what we expect from you!

Half truths look good to me.

Way more than Otter has going for him...

Say it isn't so!!!

But...But...Otter balanced the budget because he "gets things done".




Allred says" We HAVE a great country and a GREAT STATE because we have invested in education".

So why do we need to change to Allred????

It is already great!

Education buget cut for the FIRST time.

It's also the FIRST time property values and taxes have plummeted, income tax revenues, sales tax revenues, and the economy have been cut in a lonnnngggg time.

Yes, Keith Allred has stated

Yes, Keith Allred has stated that we've got a great State and country, but I'm pretty certain he was referring to our potential. We've got the most amazing governing system in the world, but we need the leaders who will put us on the right path. We aren't there. As you mentioned, Allred said we have a great state because we have invested in education. I think he means WHEN we invest in education. When we make cuts, that's when we limit our potential. "PIMP2", I'm not sure if you've been inside a classroom lately, but my younger brother who is a sophomore in high school isn't allowed to take textbooks home to do homework because they don't have enough for each student due to a Lack of Funds. Kids can't be assigned homework from the book, so there's no way they can do extra studying at home, and with less instruction time in the classroom, they aren't going to learn the material there either. I've spent time around kids his age, and they are not as educated as they need to be. They can barely speak proper English. Fewer and fewer are going on to college because they aren't prepared and also because the rise in tuition costs in part due to the cut in education funds. Employers build businesses where the population is educated. That isn't Idaho. That means no job growth here and those individuals who are educated relocate to other states to find employment. The little funding that we did provide to education just got wasted when our educated workforce moves out of state for work. Allred's focus is investing in education, which leads to an indirect investment into the economy. That is why we need to change to Allred.

Allred wants to invest in a broken system

According to what you just described.

"I've spent time around kids his age, and they are not as educated as they need to be. They can barely speak proper English."

Having worked with students on the BSU campus, I can tell you it doesn't get any better after they take English 101 and 102. How anyone can believe more money will improve our failed system of public education, is beyond by comprehension.

We graduate many high school students who never crack a textbook outside the classroom, so your little bro's problem doesn't bring tears to my eyes either. I have a grandson who is taking AP history. According to his texbook, the biggest mistake the human race made is when they ceased being hunter-gatherers and became farmers. In case you don't get the implied message, it is a condemnation of property rights. How selfish of us! Too bad for his teacher's sake, that he is allowed to bring this textbook home so parents and grandparents can set the kid straight.

When Allred addresses education reform, he will have my ears.

What IS 'proper English'?

Didn't we flee England?


"Say a prayer for the pretender..."-Jackson Browne

Just because your kids failed to crack a book,

doesn't mean the rest of Idaho kids follow suit. Other people's kids are held to higher standards and return in kind.
Except the kids who do well by going off to college and can actually comprehend their AP History textbooks, don't return to this state for lack of opportunity, because of the likes of you, keeping the standards and wages low.

One doesn't have to wonder very far as to why you have no expectations or cat calls for Otter to reform education, yet you will continue to vote for him.
The rest of us will vote for Allred.

What I learned in college

My grandson is a sophomore high school student and is learning from this grandmother how to regurgitate the AP history lessons in a way that does not require him to express agreement with them. He is also learning from me that spelling, grammar and sentence structure are important even if his teachers have no experience in multi-disciplined approaches to teaching and learning.

Normally my daughter would be fulfilling this role, but having majored in molecular biology, she never encountered the Marxist anthropologist course content in college. Consequently, she was initially in shock that they actually teach this crap to high school students, but she's getting the hang of it now after I loaned her a few of my sociology text books.

All but one of my four children returned to Idaho after completing college, and she would if her husband was not so stubborn about living in southern California where he was born and raised. Sure they earn a lot more money than her Idaho siblings do, but they pay $4000 a month for a 2-bedroom rental and commute in heavy traffic everyday. Some of us just don't think the higher wages in other states provide the quality of life found in Idaho.

As for public schools, I lived in six different states while raising my children (Idaho, Ohio, Michigan, Nevada, California), and I can assure anyone that Idaho's schools are not the worst. Certain problems are inherent in all public school systems, including the one in Michigan which was the 2nd wealthiest district in that state. That's how I know money is not the answer to what ails the public school system. More competition from charter schools is a better solution than trying to fix systemic problems with a long history.

I'm beginning to feel like Eeyore about the whole thing.

You're probably doomed either way.


"Say a prayer for the pretender..."-Jackson Browne

Winnie the Pooh says,

“Don't underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can't hear, and not bothering.”

Oops, I may have misspoken.
Wasn't that Butch Otter's best argument for voting him [Otter] back into the Idaho governorship?

Pooh was philosophical and remains undervalued wisdom.


"Say a prayer for the pretender..."-Jackson Browne

I absolutely agree that just

I absolutely agree that just throwing money into education isn't going to automatically solve the issue. Keith Allred has said the same thing. Spending education dollars in ways that are going to improve the system is key, but that means we still need to invest. I also agree that it is the position of the parent to be a key player in their children's education. I don't believe that it is the function of a school to raise a child. I don't believe in those extra subjects like sex ed, character building, etc. That type of thing is up to the parents. Those subjects like reading, writing, math, science, etc are the ones I'm concerned with. These are the subjects that we are falling behind in on a national scale. Those topics are the ones that I believe we need more funding for, because we certainly aren't keeping up with our world competitors.

wencj, what ways are you talking about?

The United States spends gazillions more on education than our stiffest foreign competition.

Do you want your children to go to school 10 hours a day, 6 days a week as they do in China?

Do you want your children to take the equivalent of an SAT exam to get into a college prep highschool as children do in European countries?

If there is one area where I will defend our public school system it is in the fact that we do not discriminate in enrollment as so many other countries do even while they lack America's reputation for being a melting pot of racial and ethnic diversity. Next time you see a statistical survey comparing American student achievement in science and math to those of Asian and European nations, keep in mind our students are being compared to the cream of the crop in those nations.

I also don't believe American parents are willing to sacrifice school athletics, marching bands, cheerleading, etc. to provide their children with a more rigorous academic climate similar to what is found among our foreign competition. It is amazing we have any A students considering all the distractions vying for their time and energy.

My criticism of Allred is the same as always. He is a pro at turning vague, nice sounding phrases that don't tell us anything about how he would improve education. You say we need to invest more in ways that will improve the system, but what are those ways? If Allred has a vision for Idaho education, as I suspect he may have, he should spell it out instead of saying he would raise money for education by eliminating sales tax exemptions as if that alone will improve our schools.

Why one expectation for Allred and another for Otter?

1. What reforms in Idaho has Otter presented aside from slashing the budget, decrease quality and increasing class size?

2. "Do you want your children to take the equivalent of an SAT exam to get into a college prep highschool as children do in European countries?"
This is a great idea, and long past due in America.
But to be accurate, Euro countries only do this for the last 2 years of high school for college prep (Gymnasium), not all 4 years.
The kids who do not test into Gymnasium, still get a focused education, and are still eligible to enter university if they pass exams.

3. Again, because your kids cannot keep up with their extracurricular activities and studies, does not mean it is the norm.
Lots of other American kids can hang not only in America, but in Europe as well.

4. Please outline Otter's 2010 education reform platform.
We are waiting...

Allred has made education

Allred has made education his primary focus, so I hold him to a higher standard to explain his educational philosophy and how he would go about implementing it.

Also, your information about European schools isn't accurate since the length of what we call high school varies between nations from 3-5 years, but it is in all cases an ability tracking system with predictable outcomes for various economic groups. That is not to say some low-income students are not accepted into college prep schools, but that there is no affirmative action enrollments. They have to have excellent grades and test scores. Btw, those are written exams, not multiple choice questions. Italy, which requires 5 years, may be the one exception since its school system allows students to specialize in a course of study beginning at age 14 (e.g. in science, humanities, music, art). Only 30% of German students go on to college. European high schools have no cafeterias, because the school day ends around 1 p.m. but with a heavy amount of homework, and many of them do have Saturday school and a 6-week summer vacation. The concept of local school boards and parental involvement is unheard of in Europe, as the state makes all the decisions.


Butch Otter's record speaks for itself. He was willing to try to raise taxes to build roads. Improving infrastructure can certainly be worthwhile, but the question should be whether it is as valuable an investment as improving education. He clearly was willing to let education funding drop significantly rather than (1) listen to the projected tax income for this year from his own chief economist OR (2) to make sure that those who aren't paying their lawful share of the tax burden are compelled to do so.

My conservative fellow-citizens, Keith Allred shares your and my core values, both fiscal and social. More importantly he's willing and able to recognize that complicated problems usually require sophisticated solutions, not blind ideology. We will all be better off with him as our governor. Take a look at his website and see for yourself.

Schools vs. pot holes is a false choice

When weighing the importance of infrastructure improvements, you might want to consider transporting children safely to and from their schools whether in your personal vehicle or in a school bus. Idaho has 115 school districts, only a few of which are located in the Treasure Valley where the highways are superior compared to most other areas of the state.

Good highways are essential to Idaho's economy = preserving and creating jobs = people with paychecks to pay taxes for Idaho schools = jobs for students after we have educated them. Allred says he would lower gas taxes on cars and raise them on trucks, the industry that delivers products and services, meaning the rest of us will spend our gasoline tax cut on higher prices for products and services.

Robbing Peter to pay Paul doesn't sound like a sophisticated solution to me, but rather just politics as usual.

Forgot to mention

that ITD receives no money from the general fund and is therefore not in competition for education dollars. Allred's ad is more than a little misleading in this regard.


NO funding.


State Funds
The major source of state funds for all road and street jurisdictions (state, county, highway district,and city) is the Highway Distribution Account (HDA). Funds deposited into the account are collected from a number of sources and are distributed according to Idaho law. The funding sources for the highway distribution account are:
Gasoline and Special Fuels Tax
These taxes are collected by the Idaho Tax Commission and are deposited into the HDA.
Idaho’s state fuel tax is 25 cents per gallon. Similarly, taxes on special fuels, such as diesel and propane, also are deposited into the HDA.
Vehicle Registrations
Another major source of revenue to the HDA is vehicle registrations. The registration fee for passenger cars is based on the age of the vehicle and ranges from $24 to $48.
Truck Registrations Trucks weighing 8,000 to 60,000 pounds gross vehicle weight pay registration based on weight group and type of operation. Trucks with more than 60,000 pounds gross vehicle weight pay a single registration fee calculated by truck weight and mileage group. These funds also are deposited into the HDA.
Miscellaneous Fees
Other HDA fees are derived from license plate fees (including personalized and specialty plates), driver licenses and fines. Combined, these fees represent a small percentage of the total account.
Revenue from the state Highway Distribution Account (HDA) for the maintenance, repair, and construction of Idaho’s 5,000-mile State Highway System is deposited into the state highway account for transportation department use. The department receives approximately 56 percent of the HDA revenue. The remaining amount is divided among city, county and highway district jurisdictions and the Idaho State Police. Revenue from sources such as permits and licenses is deposited directly into the state highway account for use by the transportation department. Those
"other funds" represent approximately 10 to 12 percent of the total state revenue deposited into the state highway account.

The major funding is Federal. No General Fund money is used in Idaho.

We wouldn't notice an increase in cost of services and products

This is a false problem. Consider this:

Idaho Resident Suzi gets her gas taxes and registration fees raised. She feels that extra little chunk out of her wallet every time she needs a new sticker on her plate, something we already feel, that leads to less money and confidence to spend on the economy.

Now on the other hand have Billy Bob Trucker pony up more of his fair share. He delivers hundreds of loads of goods that are bought by thousands of people. The chunk coming out of his wallet is then divvied up amongst the thousands of consumers and it affects people's wallets and consumer confidence much less. Consumers barely feel it.

I'd rather pay an extra penny for my Top Ramen than have to give over the other arm to the DMV and my dollar at Maverick once a week.

Don't disagree with your rationale

but I think you will be paying a lot of extra pennies on more than just Top Ramen because everything moves by truck in Idaho. Whether you will feel any pain from a penny here and a penny there, there, there and there week after week may well be debatable, but I would just as soon get hit directly with a tax increase for infrastructure improvements than be treated like the proverbial frog in a pot of boiling water who then thinks the retail merchants caused the pot to heat up, when in fact it was some politician's s-h-e-l-l game that hid the tax from me so I couldn't pinpoint its source.

Do I like paying more for gasoline and registration fees? On my low fixed-income, heck no! Although I did vote for the Ada County ballot issue 2 years ago that raised my registration $20. I thought the road improvements were just as important to me and many others as two cases of Top Ramen would be for me only. Besides, I have 11 other months to stock up on Top Ramen and Spam. :-)

What really troubles me is...

People understand pregnancy far more than road funding.

Then they extrapolate.


"Say a prayer for the pretender..."-Jackson Browne

Mt. Bytheway, I respectfully disagree with your analysis

I pointed out that infrastructure is important. The question is not whether it's a good investment, but whether it is the best possible investment given scarce resources. I think education wins that battle hands down.

Allred's platform point regarding taxes is to make sure that they are collected equitably. If businesses choose to raise their prices in response to keep up their profit margin, they will also see less demand for their products and revenue will decrease. If they lay-off staff in response, their efficiency will decrease (presuming they don't have excess staff, who arguably shouldn't be employed by them anyway) and their revenue will then also decrease. So businesses, like people, will have to make choices to optimize their outcomes. But it's not nearly as simple as just passing the burden on to consumers,as your comment indicates.

I am fully in favor of a more equitable tax system. Sadly, governor Otter has largely chosen to ignore problems with the tax commission and collect income that our state needs right now, providing "profits" to numerous special interests that under the law belong to our government, to meet our needs. If these businesses want to pay less taxes, they need to make their argument through the legislature. Sweet-heart deals with the executive branch exemplify corruption.


Logic does not play well to the uneducated rw faction of this state.
They cannot separate the letter R from their actual opinion.

We mustn't give up!

After all, I used to be a dittohead...people can change.

When there's a will there's a way folks.

Look at states like Colorado who are very restricted when it comes to their budgeting, they have to make it work because the restrictions are part of their public policiy. Those restrictions were placed on them by intiatives by the way, whether or not putting so much restriction on their ability to budget is a good thing is another conversation but I think its fair enough to say that Idaho has two restrictions when it comes to budgeting: Don't go in the whole and provide Idaho school kids with a good education. Both are in the constitution. I know it doesn't say we can't cut school funding but the cuts have negatively affected the education Idaho school kids are receiving this year.

The Ad

Funny that this thread as totally strayed away from the headline.


Is Allred misrepresenting the truth in the ad?


Nice thread

This is a very helpful discussion and points out the complexity of trying to have the best education system we can have within the fiscal restraints, and the socio-economic/politico-cultural differences we have here in Idaho as well as in the rest of the country. As far as education goes regarding the choice between Otter and Allred, for me it comes down to a matter of focus and philosophy between the two. I see Otter as an anachronistic good old boy stuck in the old west mentality favoring agriculture and resource extraction versus Allred's more modern and future looking attitude, and realization that resources are running out, and the future well being of Idaho lies in more technological development which requires a greater emphasis on better education and making it the highest priority. My $.02.

Technological Development

Have you read the article about Earth's rare mineral's and how China could well hose the US by limiting our import of those minerals and how IDAHO currently has deposits of many of those rare minerals?

The SAME minerals that are necessary for your technological development.


Even techies need to EAT.
That means Idaho needs agriculture- unless you want to depend on Latin America for YOUR food.

the ad is still a bad one.

Kinda binary aren't you?

It's about balance. You need both technology and extraction/agriculture for a broad economic base, and if you're talking tech, you need an educated population ready to fill those jobs. It's not one or the other unless you neglect education. Your comments remind me of the "love it or leave it" attitude I remember from the 70s. Didn't care for that kind of thinking then and still don't.

more polar

I agree, it is balance.
And I also think Idaho techie side is doing well- thanks in large part to the early existance of Micron (funded by agriculture wealth).

If you have ever seen the Idaho technology poster that shows all the Idaho companies in "technology" it is quite interesting. It's one way to see just deep technology does run in Idaho. I think many people just think of Micron and HP and stop there so therefore Idaho is not doing enough to attract the tech industry.

Education is one part of it, but I think the MOST important part is our quality of life. Silicon Valley has lots of top notch secondary education- there are lots of people currently living HERE who used to live there.

There is no reason to think Otter or others are supporting only resource based companies at the exclusion of tech companies.

What is it with you Allred supporters,

who like Allred, speak in vague generalities, but won't describe your vision in more detail so voters can decide whether your arguement has merit?

For example, you say, "...the future well being of Idaho lies in more technological development which requires a greater emphasis on better education and making it the highest priority." Let's break that down.

More technological development - What kind of technological development? Who, what, where, when, how? Is it your contention that agriculture and mineral extraction have no interest in or use for technological innovation, or why do you see them as competing interests rather than as partners in technological development?

Better education - Give some examples of better. Funding aside, what would you change in education to make it better? Voters can't do a casual cost-benefit analysis unless they know what you are talking about.

You also mention Allred's educational philosophy is important to you, but can you describe his philosophy? More and better are not a philosophy. How much influence do you think any governor can have with the legislature and IEA in bringing about a new philosophical order to Idaho education?

As for Otter, he has to stand on his own record, but his challenger needs to do more than claim he is the better choice simply because he supports more and better government. Platitudes, no matter how eloquently expressed, are not informative.

This ad is way better than Butch's clean energy ad...

The guy flip flopped major since four years ago. In his ad he lauds the growth of solar and wind powered energy when four years ago he said clean energy like wind and solar was living off government handouts.


So in comparison I'd say this ad beats Butch's last ad. If anyone feels otherwise please try and convince me Otter's was better.


Otter's ad by your words made two points.
-four years ago w/s lived off subidies
-now Idaho needs to take advantage of the growth industry
Both points are true.

This Allred ad is false due to the timing of how things actually happened.

One true- One false.