Adam’s Blog

That’s my thing, keepin’ the faith, baby. –Joe Friday

Governor Otter Says No to a New Park

Posted by Adam Graham on March 31, 2007

With a stroke of the pen, Governor Butch Otter saved the state millions:

Gov. Butch Otter has used his line-item veto to slice part of the funding for a new eastern Idaho state park out of the state parks budget. Lawmakers had approved $2.9 million to buy land at the Rising River site on the Snake River for the new park, which was part of Gov. Dirk Kempthorne’s “Experience Idaho” parks project. In his veto message, Otter said Idaho has a “significant backlog of maintenance needs at … existing state parks. Our limited resources must be used to address those needs and to enhance the utility of our existing parks before we add to our state parks inventory.” Otter used his line-item veto to slash $760,000 of the land purchase that was in a separate item in the budget, and ordered the state parks director not to spend the additional $2.14 million that’s rolled into the department’s budget for that purchase, effectively stopping the new state park.

The Idahoan offers up enthusiastic praise for Butch’s veto:

If you do the political calculus on this, you know that Otter stood to gain a great deal by approving the spending. A governor who approves spending for a park ends up with all kinds of glory — a groundbreaking and an official opening to attend, maybe even a park in his name (although “Otter Park” might confuse visitors). Rest assured supporting the spending would have secured his legacy for all time — and the good graces of voters in eastern Idaho.

But Otter’s line item veto was for all the right reasons. We have a maintenance backlog in our existing parks, so why add on when we can’t afford to keep up with what we already have? In other words, Otter did what he did for all the right reasons, very much consistent with conservatism in government. How wonderful! Doing what’s right instead of what’s politically popular is a trait we should all admire and replicate.

I’ve been pretty critical of Governor Otter over the last few weeks, but it’s all about issues. The policy with the Governor is the same as with every elected official: praise ’em when they’re right, criticize them when they’re wrong.

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