Get to work and go home: One survey’s message to the Legislature

Republican voters want the state’s GOP-dominated Legislature to finish its work and go home, according to a statewide survey released Tuesday.

In one question, likely GOP primary voters were asked whether they want to see lawmakers advance Gov. Brad Little’s agenda — cutting taxes, funding education and investing in infrastructure — or continue to debate issues such as critical race theory in schools and gubernatorial and legislative emergency powers.

The results: 76 percent of respondents said they want movement on Little’s agenda.

Meanwhile, 71 percent of respondents said they wanted the Legislature to remain a part-time body that meets for about 80 days per year. Only 21 percent said they want the Legislature to have the power to call itself back into session at any time. The Legislature approved a proposed constitutional amendment allowing lawmakers to call themselves into session; it will appear on the November 2022 ballot.

Respondents also expressed concern with the length and cost of the 2021 session, with 66 percent of respondents saying the money could be better spent on teacher pay and early education. The 2021 session is entering its 115th day Wednesday, at a taxpayer cost of $30,000 per day.

The survey brought together an unusual coalition of co-sponsors: the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry, the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce and the Idaho Education Association.

“These legislators need to understand: Conservative Idahoans are tired of this wasteful, ineffective behavior. They want a legislature that does its job efficiently and effectively, not one that spends pointless weeks bickering and posturing on fringe issues,” the co-sponsors said in a joint statement. “Our legislators need to focus on important priorities, such as tax cuts and investments in transportation and education, and then go home.”

The telephone survey, conducted April 29 through May 2, focused on 400 likely Republican primary voters in Idaho. Eighty percent of respondents described themselves as conservative.

The survey has a margin for error of 4.9 percent.

Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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