This is how our Idaho Republican party rolls. They take care of their own personal issues to the detriment of the people of the State of Idaho. Two examples.
As Governor, Jim Risch jammed through a shift of taxes from property to sales. This was his signature achievement of his short term as Governor (or, as Geoff would say, his term as short Governor), and he crowed about it at every opportunity while running for Senator. Great. Jim manages the tax shift, rides it into the Senate. Unfortunately, the result was that the stable property tax funding source for schools shifted to the more volatile sales tax. As the economy tanked, so did revenues. So, the legislature just cut K-12 school budgets 7.5%, the first cut ever. The tax shift was good for Jim, not so good for the children of Idaho.
Likewise, the budget hawks in the legislature, and Governor Otter. This is an election year, and they have flatly ruled out any new taxes or revenue measures (except oddball stuff like making birdwatchers get a license). Well, see 7.5% K-12 budget cut above. Why completely refuse to even talk about taxes? Because it's an election year. "It doesn't matter that the children of Idaho will bear the brunt of the budget cuts, if it could harm my chance for reelection, it ain't happening." That's not political leadership; it's blatant self interest, and the citizens be damned.
I'm no fan of taxes; no one is. But I am willing to invest in our future. I say, do away with the sales tax exemptions, tax services, and lower the sales tax to 3 or 4%, or whatever it would be. Other than for the special interests who would lose their exemptions, this would be a relatively painless way to increase revenue. I know; it's a pipe dream. But a guy can dream, can't he?