(candidate for 2004 Idaho State Representative, Position A)
1. Next summer, Idaho's 6% sales tax is scheduled to revert to 5% and the recent additional cigarette tax is scheduled to be eliminated. Do you support or would you rescind those scheduled tax roll-backs?
We will not have sufficient economic information to see how much additional
tax revenue we have in the General Fund until December 04. However,
my projection is that the elimination of the $180 million loss of tax
revenue will not be compensated with additional tax revenues generated by
a growing economy.
At this point I will support an extension of the 1 cent sales tax and the
cigarette tax. We need the revenue to provide the basic services for our
In 2002 I co-sponsored a bill to study Idaho's tax laws. A Tax Task Force
was appointed but under the leadership of Rep. Delores Crow nothing was
accomplished. I will work in a bi-partisan approach to try and rekindle
the idea of reviewing Idaho Tax Laws. There is already a major study
developed by the Governor's Blue Ribbon Committee which would serve as an
A major problem is that each year there are approximately $1.6 billion in
taxes not collected (called tax expenditures) which result from exclusions
in the tax code. A tax exemption is a privilege granted by the state but
it is often perceived by the organization that receives it as a right.
All tax exemptions should be reviewed on a three year basis and those
organizations granted exemptions should justify to the Legislature with
hard evidence the benefit of the exemption to the State. This process
would, no doubt, eliminate some exemptions, and the funds could be utilized
for K-12, Higher Education, and school facilities.
I'm currently working with a bipartisan group to draft legislation which
would utilize funds from unjustified tax exemptions. A preliminary
estimate indicates that enough funding could be recovered to not only
fund basic state services but also reduce the sales tax back to 5%.
We also need to consider taxing services in the state. We have moved from
a goods production economy to that of a services driven economy and not
readjusted our tax system and policy to reflect this trend.
2. The Idaho State Superintendent of Public Instruction has charged that the State Board of Education has recently expanded into areas of responsibility rightfully belonging to the Superintendent's office. Do you agree? If so, what will you do about it?
Yes, there is no doubt that the SBOE has moved into areas of responsibility
of the SPI. The SBOE has hired new staff at higher salaries than those
received by SDE staff, and then the Board has the SDE train them. The
SBOE has been acting in an arbitrary manner making decisions without
consulting the SDE, SPI, teachers, legislators, and citizens. I support
legislation to restore those areas of responsibility that should rightfully
be under the SDE.
I will also support legislation to split the SBOE into two boards--one for
K-12 and one for Higher Education. SBOE members have complained there is
far too much paper work for them to individually study all of the complex
issues. This results in poor decision making. Two boards would allow
board members more time to focus on either K-12 or Higher Education
I will also support Conflict of Interest legislation. Idaho is one of
three states not to have such legislation in place. Several SBOE members
are paid lobbyists for external organizations and there is obvious conflict
of interest potential.
3. Do you think it is possible to increase state funding for the University of Idaho? Do you support an increase in state funding for the University of Idaho? If so, what specific measures will you support to fund that increase?
First of all, I agree with President White that in order to increase state
for the University of Idaho, that we must focus on increasing funding for
all of higher education in the state. It would be a lonely battle just to
beat the drums for the University of Idaho. The best chances are to
develop statewide support for increased funding for all higher education
There are several new pro advocacy groups for higher education. One is
chaired by former President Michaels. The University of Idaho and the
District 6 community needs to work closely with these advocacy groups to
gain the needed support for increased funding.
In specific terms, I support an extension of the one cent sales tax
increase and the cigarette tax for the support of education, and also
propose legislation to have organizations justify all of tax exemptions
granted by the state.
4. Would you support a state constitutional amendment to make same-gender marriages illegal?
5. How do you plan to use email, websites, or any other communication tools to inform district residents about state programs or to gather input from those residents?
During my 4 terms in the legislature I've placed a card on my desk which
says, "Constituents First." This means that I'm in constant communication
with District 6 constituents. I average about 2,000 e mails with
constituents during the legislative session and 1,000 e mails during the
off term. I've used my website, fax, phone, and personal visits with
constituents to check signals and to get input from them on basic issues
and concerns. I've published a regular legislative newsletter during the
legislative session which goes out weekly to 1,500 constituents plus
it is shared with Vision2020 and other groups as well.
6. Please include biographical information about yourself, email, phone, or website contact information, and any other message you want to share with Moscow voters.
FACTS ABOUT TOM TRAIL
Idaho laws in the past 8 years
Lifelong Latah County
B.S. in Animal Science-University of
Faculty member of the University of
Idaho--1959-60-College of Agriculture
Doctorate--Montana State University
owner and farmer
Teacher and Researcher in the
College of Ag at WSU for 24 years
Wife, Jo Ann, and
three children, Ruth, Mark, and Steven
Cesear Chavez Award-2001--leadership
award from labor unions and farm
workers for passage
of the Minimum Wage Act for Idaho Farm Workers.
Friend of Education Award--awarded by the Idaho Education
for long term support and leadership in
the field of Public Education
Progressive Legislator of the Year Award
(2003)--awarded by United Vision
effective leadership in the passage of the Minimum Wage
Farm Workers, leadership in campaign finance
reform, and support for other
I'm appreciative of the support
that I've received over the years from
Education Association, labor unions, the business
and other organizations, but I especially
appreciate the confidence in
my service by the
citizens of District 6.
My opponent emphasizes
accountability to Idaho citizens. I fully
with him, and I've developed a Legislative
Report Card which lays my record
before the citizens
of District 6. I've beend through four elections
my opponent two elections with District 6
citizens. I challenge him to
public service record in the form of an accountability
card so that it is open to the
PUBLIC SERVICE ACCOUNTABILITY REPORT
CARD OF REP. TOM TRAIL
Idaho Literacy Act: $7 million
annually provides support to help
children read at grade level at 3rd grade.
School Construction: HB315 provided Troy with $1.1 million in
payments for a new high school and Whitepine
$377,000 to improve school facilities
Start: Provided $1.5
million/year to help low
Idaho Promise Scholarships: Provided state scholarships for more
4,000 University of Idaho students and
statewide. I was the House sponsor
Funding Building Programs
Supported legislation for over
at the University of Idaho
in building new facilities at the U. of Idaho
PERSI RETIREMENT BENEFITS: I was the House Sponsor of enhanced
benefits for retirees and state
teachers, county and city workers, faculty
staff, law enforcement, and firefighters.
4.34% increase in monthly checks awarded
those who retired after 2000. Benefited
RIGHTS: Minimum wage
legislation for Idaho farm
Co-sponsored legislation for the
of farm labor
House sponsor of joint House-Senate
advocating humans rights for all in Idaho.
Sponsored legislation that state agencies
give preference to small Idaho businesses
letting state contracts.
three victim identify theft laws.
SUPPORT: Good Samaritan Bill. Seniors
$1 million annually through reduced
INCENTIVES: Legislation which
independent decisions to buy recycled
products. Sponsored electron hazardous
LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES FOR 2005
1. Increased support
for K-12 and Higher Education
2. Major Tax Reform
3. Financial Disclosure for all Political
Candidates. Idaho does not
financial disclosure for candidates. I have submitted
Statement of Economic Interests to
the Center for Political Integrity
posted on their website and challenge other candidates to
4. Legalization for Growing Industrial Hemp as an alternative
5. Modify the Patriot Act
6. Support a Constitutional Amendment to protect Idaho citizen
7. Lower costs for prescription drugs--I'm
working with Health and Welfare
up a website and toll free phone number to help residents
cheaper prescriptions from Canada,
Ireland and Britain.
8. Support moving toward a living
wage for Idaho wage earners.
data indicates that 79% of single
parent families with two
less than a living wage in Idaho.
9. Protect Idaho's
Open Meeting Law. I'm working with the Farm
Idaho Grange, and other
organizations to develop either
or a constitutional
amendment to ensure that our Open Meetings
I will appreciate constituent input. You can follow the Campaign
at www.infotrail.com/idaho I can be reached at e mail at ttrail@moscow.
Dr. Tom Trail
Moscow, Id. 83843
Tel: (208) 882-6077
e mail email@example.com