Language in that state’s Constitution declares that the land originally granted from the federal government for the creation of Idaho must be managed “in such manner as will secure the maximum long term financial return to the institution to which granted.” From that language, Idaho politicians down through the ages have determined that they have a “fiduciary responsibility” to produce investment returns. So once the first of the original endowment lands were sold, a trust account was established, and state politicians have been “investing” the money in for-profit businesses ever since.
In the past four years alone, the state government of Idaho has purchased everything from a neighborhood beer pub to commercial office space, all under the leadership of Republican Governor C.L “Butch” Otter. This controversial practice came under national criticism back in 2010 when the Idaho government bought “Affordable Storage,” a small self-storage business in the capitol city of Boise, and then began telling would-be customers that “our rates are lower because we don’t have to pay taxes.” Ask residents of “red state” Idaho what they think of President Obama’s forced acquisitions of General Motors and the Chrysler Corporation, and they’ll likely tell you it was wrong. Yet most are unaware that their own state government is doing much the same as the President has done, and is competing against their business-owning neighbors.
While it’s hard to find an American politician who will tell you that they are anything short of “supportive” when it comes to small business ownership, it’s even more difficult to find one that really understands what it means to be that type of leader. The change in government policies that our nation needs won’t begin to happen, until American voters start paying attention and making better choices on election day.
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.