Starve or Feed the Beast

Sometimes irony is everywhere.

We had a full agenda in Agricultural Affairs this morning. I did not expect such a hubbub over raising fees for brand inspections. But such is senate life.

Brand inspections are done by state brand inspectors. These inspections record transfer of title to, or possession of, livestock.  Inspectors authenticate ownership, and are also called to investigate theft. The Idaho Brand Board registers brands and keeps track of them. Fees are charged for these services. The Brand Board is funded only with fees; it receives no General Fund money.  The Brand Board was bringing a bill before us requesting an increase in their fees.

I made a mistake questioning the brand board director. I was trying to figure out what animals get brands. I should have read the bill more carefully, for it was right there. The director responded soberly, “By statute, livestock in the state of Idaho are defined as all cattle, horses, mules or asses.” There was tittering in the early morning audience.

A committee member commented that “Some out there might be thinking some here on this committee need inspecting.”

The Brand Board director offered to check for rib marks if such was called for. He was blushing.

“No, it wasn’t that kind of asses they were saying.” The joke took a while to die down.

But soon the question at hand became quite evident. In these times, while we are cutting funding for schools and Medicaid, should we be raising fees on brands? Aren’t we supposed to be shrinking government?

The Brand Board explained they had met with the Cattlemen’s Association and the Dairymen’s Association, both of which agreed a fee increase was reasonable. They would be paying it. And there hadn’t been a fee increase for over 20 years.

I watched this one closely and did not speak. One Senator was quite bothered that we would increase these fees when “times are tough”.

We voted 9-1 to raise the fees. We will see how it does on the floor of the Senate. Then there is the House. Times are tough for growth of cooperative effort.

Thank you for comments. All are read but I do not post comments.

About ddxdx

A Family physician, former county coroner and former Idaho State Senator
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