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  • The common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.
    --George Washington, Farewell Address, September 26, 1796
  • I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of this society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion.
    --Thomas Jefferson, Letter to William Charles Jarvis, September 28, 1820
  • There must be a positive passion for the public good… established in the minds of the people, or there can be no republican government, nor any real liberty: and this public passion must be superior to all private passions.
    --John Adams, letter to Mercy Warren, April 16, 1776
  • I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men … where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent. If I could not go to heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all.
    --Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Francis Hopkinson, March 13, 1789
  • Among the numerous advantages promised by a well-constructed Union, none deserves to be more accurately developed than its tendency to break and control the violence of faction.
    --James Madison, Federalist No. 10, November 23, 1787
  • If we move in mass, be it ever so circuitously, we shall attain our object; but if we break into squads, everyone pursuing the path he thinks most direct, we become an easy conquest to those who can now barely hold us in check.
    --Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Duane, 1811
  • Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.
    --James Madison, letter to W.T. Barry, August 4, 1822
  • Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men.
    --John Adams, Thoughts on Government, 1776
  • A popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.
    --James Madison, letter to W.T. Barry, August 4, 1822
  • With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in.
    --Abraham Lincoln, Second Inaugural Address, March 4, 1865
  • The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism.
    --George Washington, Farewell Address, September 26, 1796
  • Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people.
    --John Adams, Dissertation on Canon and Feudal Law, 1765
  • … the public good, the real welfare of the great body of the people, is the supreme object to be pursued; and…no form of government whatever has any other value than as it may be fitted for the attainment of this object.
    --James Madison, Federalist No. 45, January 26, 1788
  • …that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
    --Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address, November 19, 1863
  • In every political society, parties are unavoidable. A difference of interests, real or supposed, is the most natural and fruitful source of them. The great object should be to combat the evil.
    --James Madison, Parties, January 23, 1792
    
A Record of Legislative Success

Expansion of the Homeowner's Exemption for Property Taxes

Our most significant legislative achievement has been successfully advocating in 2006 to index the homeowner's exemption for property taxes to the Idaho housing price index. Since passage of this measure, the homeowner's exemption has risen from a maximum of $75,000 to over $100,000. For the average homeowner, this translates into several hundred dollars of property tax savings each year. For some retired couples on fixed incomes, it has made it possible for them to stay in their homes.

When The Common Interest first proposed the housing price index, few knowledgable observers thought our prospects were very good. The record of the big business and farm lobby in defeating multiple similar measures in the Legislature was perfect over a period of more than two decades. In 2006, The Common Interest was just over a year old. Despite the long odds the new non-profit, funded only with modest memberhsip donations, prevailed by overwhelming majorities. Not only was this the first time these powerful lobbies had been defeated on this issue, it was the first time in more than a decade that the big business lobby had been defeated on any issue in the Idaho Legislature.

To read the full property tax brief and and polling results, CLICK HERE

Enhancement of Public Access to Legislative Committee Meetings

In the 2005 session, the Idaho Senate gave its committees the authority to close their meetings to the public for any reason on a two-thirds vote of the members of the committee. The Idaho House had given its committees the same authority years earlier. In the 2006 session, The Common Interest proposed restricting committees authority to close their meetings to a few specified and extraordinary conditions, such as consideration of security issues or pending litigation. The measure was adopted by overwhelming margins in both the House and the Senate. In the Senate, The Common Interest managed to persuade the Republican Caucus leadership to sponsor the proposal, although they had sponsored the new authority to close committee meetings the previous year.

To read the full open committee meetings brief and polling results, CLICK HERE

Three Sensible Protections of Private Property Rights Against Abuse of the Government's Power of Eminent Domain

The controversial U.S. Supreme Court finding in Kelo v. New London, Connecticut elicited a raft of proposed legislation in Idaho and most other states in the country to enhance property rights protections against the government's power of eminent domain. The bill aimed most directly at the Kelo decision passed with our support, but would have passed without it.

Three additional eminent domain bills passed, however, that likely would not have without our support. Senator Skip Brandt and Representative Mike Moyle, two of the most conservative members of the Legislature, sponsored 11 different eminent domain bills. Particularly since Senator Brandt was a candidate in the crowded Republican primary for the 1st Congressional District, even many Republicans assumed that these bills were intended to curry favor with hard right conservatives and probably over shot the mark. Consequently, the bills were having a difficult time even getting a hearing in committee.

When The Common Interest briefed these bills and then polled its members, the members largely agreed that a number of the bills went far too far. On study and reflection, however, three bills looked like practical, common sense protections of private property rights against abuse of the government's power of eminent domain. When The Common Interest came out in support of these bills by large margins, the decision was made to give the bills a committee hearing. With our supporting testimony, the bills passed by overwhelming margins in committee and on both the Senate and House floor. When Senator Brandt and Representative Moyle learned that the Governor was threatening to veto the bills for reasons other than on the merits, they turned immediately to The Common Interest. After being contacted by a number of members, the Governor ultimately decided to sign the bills into law.

To read the full eminent domain brief and polling results, CLICK HERE

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