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What Will Reclaim Idaho Do if Gov. Little’s Proposal Passes in the Special Session?


If the GOP agrees to more education spending again, the education lobby will just continue to ask for more. When is enough money enough?


In 2021, Gov. Little increased K-12 education spending from $2.34 billion to $3.109 billion. The education lobby asked for more. In 2022, Gov. Little championed another increase in education funding, this time to $3.32 billion. Education spending is up 42% in the last two fiscal years!


The education lobby is still not satisfied. Now Reclaim Idaho has gotten an initiative on the ballot for another $323 million increase in education spending—an initiative supported by Idaho’s education lobby. Gov. Little has countered the Reclaim Idaho initiative with a proposal to increase education spending another $410 million. The education lobby has not objected to Gov. Little’s second huge increase in education spending in four months.


There are scads of reasons to oppose the governor’s gambit. More spending does not make for better education. The school districts are already awash with money.


A chief reason is political. By caving on spending, Republicans have given the Left momentum—and a political movement keeps demanding more until it is stopped.


When the education lobby asks for more education spending, Republicans have recently given the money to them. They will keep asking until someone says "no."


Establishment Republicans never challenge the premise behind these demands, namely that more education spending will lead to better education. If Republicans never challenge that idea, then educators are going to keep demanding more money.


Indeed, Republican silence looks like agreement with the idea that education spending will lead to better education.


Reclaim Idaho and their supporters in the education lobby will again ask for more money, if the legislature agrees to Gov. Little’s proposal. Reclaim might even try another initiative looking for even more spending for education. Luke Mayville, the leader of Reclaim Idaho, knows where to look for the signatures. He has a well-honed operation to gather them. He has plenty of outside funding, given his string of successes. Mayville would be crazy not to ride his momentum.


Gov. Little’s clever little ploy to replace the initiative will backfire, even if it succeeds narrowly in the short-term. Reclaim Idaho knows there is blood in the water. There is no reason not to strike. There is never enough education spending, and Gov. Little has never objected to more.


Republicans can start by saying "no" to Gov. Little's gambit and then fighting the misguided Reclaim Idaho initiative in November.


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