Tom Trail

(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 citizens.

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 excellent start.

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 issues.

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 institutions.

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.

     Sponsored/Co-sponsored 30 Idaho laws in the past 8 years
     Lifelong Latah County resident
     B.S. in Animal Science-University of Idaho
     Faculty member of the University of Idaho--1959-60-College of Agriculture
     Doctorate--Montana State University
     Small business 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 Association
     for long term support and leadership in the field of Public Education

     Progressive Legislator of the Year Award (2003)--awarded by United Vision
     for providing effective leadership in the passage of the Minimum Wage for
     Farm Workers, leadership in campaign finance reform, and support for other
     progressive legislative issues.


     I'm appreciative of the support that I've received over the years from
     the Idaho Education Association, labor unions, the business community,
     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 agree
     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 and
     my opponent two elections with District 6 citizens.  I challenge him to
     present his public service record in the form of an accountability report
     card so that it is open to the public.



     Idaho Literacy Act:  $7 million annually provides support to help school
                          children read at grade level at 3rd grade.

     School Construction:  HB315 provided Troy with $1.1 million in interest
                           payments for a new high school and Whitepine with
                           $377,000 to improve school facilities

     Head Start:           Provided $1.5 million/year to help low
income students

     Idaho Promise Scholarships:  Provided state scholarships for more than
                                  4,000 University of Idaho students and 12,000
                                  statewide.  I was the House sponsor
of the bill

     Funding Building Programs    Supported legislation for over $100,000,000
       at the University of Idaho in building new facilities at the U. of Idaho

     PERSI RETIREMENT BENEFITS: I was the House Sponsor of enhanced PERSI
                                 benefits for retirees and state workers,
                                 teachers, county and city workers, faculty and
                                 staff, law enforcement, and firefighters.  A
                                 4.34% increase in monthly checks awarded to
                                 those who retired after 2000.  Benefited over
                                 20,000 retirees.

    HUMAN RIGHTS:          Minimum wage legislation for Idaho farm workers
                                 Co-sponsored legislation for the registration
                                   of farm labor contractors
                                 House sponsor of joint House-Senate resolution
                                    advocating humans rights for all in Idaho.

   SMALL BUSINESS:               Sponsored legislation that state agencies can
                                 give preference to small Idaho businesses when
                                 letting state contracts.

   CONSUMER PROTECTION:          CO-Sponsored three victim identify theft laws.

   SENIOR CITIZEN SUPPORT:       Good Samaritan Bill.  Seniors save more than
                                 $1 million annually through reduced medical

   RECYCLING INCENTIVES:         Legislation which enables state
agencies to make
                                 independent decisions to buy recycled paper
                                 products.  Sponsored electron hazardous waste


   1.  Increased support for K-12 and Higher Education

   2.  Major Tax Reform initiatives

   3.  Financial Disclosure for all Political Candidates.  Idaho does not
       require financial disclosure for candidates.  I have submitted my
       Statement of Economic Interests to the Center for Political Integrity
       to be posted on their website and challenge other candidates to do
       the same.

   4.  Legalization for Growing Industrial Hemp as an alternative agriculture
       and environmental crop.

   5.  Modify the Patriot Act

   6.  Support a Constitutional Amendment to protect Idaho citizen fishing
       and hunting rights

   7.  Lower costs for prescription drugs--I'm working with Health and Welfare
       to set up a website and toll free phone number to help residents buy
       cheaper prescriptions from Canada, Ireland and Britain.

   8.  Support moving toward a living wage for Idaho wage earners.  Recent
       data indicates that 79% of single parent families with two
       dependents earn less than a living wage in Idaho.

   9.  Protect Idaho's Open Meeting Law.  I'm working with the Farm Bureau,
       Idaho Grange, and other organizations to develop either legislation
       or a constitutional amendment to ensure that our Open Meetings Laws
       are protected.


     I will appreciate constituent input.  You can follow the Campaign Trail
     at    I can be reached at e mail at ttrail@moscow.

     Rep. Tom Trail

Dr. Tom Trail
International Trails
1375 Mt. View Rd.
Moscow, Id. 83843
Tel:  (208) 882-6077
Fax:  (208) 882-0896
e mail

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