Monday, April 07, 2008

The Great State of Ada

Some folks who don't live in Ada County call it the Great State of Ada. I see quite a bit of this anti-Ada/Boise sentiment by N. Idaho commenters at Huckleberries Online. Here's an example. DFO, the proprietor of HBO, poised the first question below, and a poster (Spencer) reframed it against Ada County.

Question: Who's to blame for the Legislature's failure to provide funding for Idaho road repair this session -- Otter? Or Republican leaders? (Spencer: How about asking if the legislature did the right thing by not raising $200 million in taxes to fix Ada county roads?)
I guess the point is, gee, they don't want their tax money spent in Ada Cty, which is understandable but parochial. So, let's have a look at the facts.

A excerpt from the Legislature's Fiscal Facts.

First off, note the overall per capita distribution of various funds (some not shown here, visible on the linked page). Canyon County gets the fewest overall funds per capita, and Ada Cty is second third lowest. (Clark Cty is highest at $1,297.12). Kootenai gets more money p/c, though not a lot. The populous areas subsidize the less populous.

Doing the highway funds math, it breaks out like this. Ada Cty gets $58.75 in highway funds per person; Canyon, $63.03; Kootenai, $65.68; Bonner, $72.20; Boundary, $105.03; Shoshone, $112; Benewah, $131.32.

Ada Cty has about 24% of Idaho's population. It gets $21 mil in highway funds. 24% of total highway funds would be $30 mil, so Ada is shorted $9 mil. Adding in Canyon Cty increases the shortfall to the Treasure Valley to about $17.5 mil.

Granted, that's not $200 mil. But, if Canyon and Ada Cty had an additional $17.5 mil PER YEAR to spend on roads, I think that'd take care of the problem over time. Of course, roads in the rest of the state would deteriorate pretty badly.

It just shows me that we're all in this together. Carping about spending highway money in Ada Cty is silly; Ada is actually subsidizing the rest of the state. C'mon. Do you really want to keep all money in the county in which it's generated? Ada Cty will win. Get over it.

Please, Spencer and others in N. Idaho, I'd like your response to this. I'd like you to prove me wrong. If you can't, stop with the anti Ada/Boise rhetoric.

Update: Ada Cty is third lowest. Bonner Cty is second lowest.

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