Shirley Ringo

(candidate for Idaho State Representative, Position B)

1. Do you support giving Idaho counties and communities a local taxing option, and if so, what options would you support granting to the county or community and under what circumstances?
I believe a local taxing option is an important tool for counties and communities. As a member of the Revenue and Taxation committee during the 2003-2004 legislative sessions, I supported legislation dealing with local option taxes.

My thoughts on a process for a local option sales tax include:

a. Guidelines for projects that qualify should be discussed and specified, removing the current restriction that only detention facilities may be financed through local option taxes. In addition, I would remove the provision that a portion of the funds must go to property tax relief. I propose that the amount needed for a project be determined, and the tax be retired after the project is funded. Or, if the community desires permanent action such as higher pay for law enforcement officers and other city/county employees, the tax would be on-going.

b. An election for acceptance can be initiated by the County Commissioners, City Council, or sufficient signatures of registered voters.

c. Majority of those who vote must approve.

d. Because of the regressive nature of the sales tax, the Idaho Legislature should combine enactment of a local option sales tax with targeted tax relief, such as an Idaho Earned Income Credit that parallels the Federal Earned Income Credit for low income working families.

e. (We might also consider a local option income tax, but I believe the legislature would resist this idea.)

2. Do you support Idaho House Joint Resolution 2 (a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in Idaho) and suggest that Idaho voters approve it?
I strongly oppose Idaho House Joint Resolution 2. Idaho Code currently restricts marriage to a contract between one man and one woman. This Joint Resolution adds that marriage is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in Idaho. This is extremely punitive to same sex couples. HJR2 also will cause hardships for heterosexual couples, including seniors, who for complicated financial and other reasons choose not to marry.

The language of this resolution could prohibit Hewlett Packard, Micron, and other Idaho companies from providing insurance for domestic partners of their employees. This would cost the state in terms of providing health care, and inhibit recruiting of gifted employees. (The state of Washington health care plan, for example, provides for “spouse or domestic partner.”)

It is appalling that we would consider wrapping such discriminatory language into our Constitution.

3. Do you believe that a vocal minority of residents too frequently get their way over the wishes of a less political majority?
Sometimes vocal minorities prevail, but decision-making is affected by who shows up for the discussion. We need to assure that people have access to information concerning actions that will affect them, and that they know how to obtain that information. There must be ample opportunity for debate and exchange of ideas. I believe it is the responsibility of citizens to be informed and speak up. Good citizenship requires time and effort.

A vocal and well-heeled minority can exert unfair influence on elections. It is impossible for a candidate to campaign effectively when the opponent has much more financial backing. We need campaign finance reform to even the playing field in this arena.

4. Do you believe that state laws requiring seat belt use in automobiles and helmets while riding motorcycles should be strengthened?
Yes. I believe people failing to wear seat belts should be stopped, and that the fine should reflect that it is a serious violation. Similarly, I would require that those riding motorcycles and four-wheelers should be required to wear helmets.

As a member of the Transportation and Defense Committee, I have supported such legislation. It is strongly opposed by members of the legislature who believe these choices should be left to the individual. In fact, we can all be affected by people who lack the responsibility to take these safety measures. Families may have to deal with the emotional cost of losing a loved one, or of that person’s disabilities resulting from severe injuries. In addition, they may lose their main source of financial support, and require public assistance. Communities and insurance companies (in other words WE) may pick up the cost of expensive hospitalizations. We also lose the assets that these individuals had to offer.

I managed to get legislation passed requiring helmets for children under 18 years of age riding four-wheelers. (It was already required for children riding motorbikes.) I intend to continue my legislative efforts to expand requirements for seat belt and helmet use.

5. Do you suggest that Idaho voters approve Proposition 2 (the proposal that requires taxpayers to pay compensation to landowners if land use rules affect their property)?
I strongly oppose Proposition 2.

Proposition 2 poses a serious negative effect on community plans for growth and development. It poses greater likelihood for completely inappropriate developments next to homes, places of business, etc. This proposition adds nothing to eminent domain laws now on the books for the protection of your home.

In addition, the proposition is not well written. It opens the door to a plethora of lawsuits, at great cost to taxpayers. Paying for claims relating to enforcement of this bad law will funnel huge amounts of money to special interests, and deplete our resources for important community programs.

6. Please list your campaign websites, email address, and phone numbers, and add any biographical information or position statements you wish.
Representative Shirley G. Ringo
Candidate for Re-Election, House Seat 6B
House Committees:
  • Joint Finance and Appropriation
  • Transportation and Defense
  • Commerce and Human Resources
    Retired Public School Teacher, Mathematics
    Husband: John
    Adult progeny: Shawn, Stacy, Shelley
    Granddaughter: Sadie;

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