Bob Wynhausen

Bob Wynhausen
Legislative District 1 - Representative, Position B

Age: 66

City of residence: Sandpoint

Years of residence in Bonner County and Idaho: Four years, but we have owned property here since 1992.

Marital status/family: Married for 42 years; 3 children

Contact information:


Education: Bachelor of Science, Santa Clara University, 1962

Recent or pertinent employment history: CPA 1967-2006, primarily public tax practice 

Relevant professional affiliations: Oregon Society of CPAs, president (1991-'92) and life member; I have been endorsed by the Professional Firefighters of Idaho

Nonprofit groups or service organizations to which candidate belongs: I am not currently in any service organizations. See the resume at my website for a listing of service organizations prior to moving to Idaho.

Relevant experience: As an officer of the Oregon Society of CPAs I worked with legislators in connection with state tax issues and legislation relevant to professional licensing and liability.

Why are you running for public office?

I am running to change the control of public policy from big business back to the people of Idaho. There are a number of things that will help working and middle class Idahoans that will not get done under Republican leadership. I have been interested in public policy and politics for a long time. I have been outspoken on a number of public policy issues. Now it's time to put my money where my mouth is.

If you are elected, how much time will you spend each week in the office?

I will spend as much time as it takes doing the job. Some of it will be in the office, some will be at home, some of it in the lobby and some in the library. I expect to put in 60 to 80 hours a week getting as well-informed on the issues as I can. My primary goal with any legislative proposal will be to know who the winners and losers are among the people of Idaho. A bill with more winners than losers will likely get my vote. Otherwise it won’t.

Describe the top three to five issues you believe are most important, why you consider them most important, and your position on these issues.

  1. I want to revamp the tax system starting with property tax. I believe we need a system that freezes that value of property at the price paid for it until sold so that every property owner will know about what their tax will be each year. The system I envision will avoid the biggest loophole of the California system that enables much commercial property to escape revaluation. The recent property tax shift to the sales tax increases the primary tax paid by renters by 20% and gave them no offsetting property tax break. As part of that systemic change I would eliminate the impact of the sales tax on groceries by increasing the tax credit to a level that reflects the amount of tax paid annually on groceries. I would set it on a sliding scale based on income level so that those who need it most get the most. Finally, I would propose changes to the income tax rate schedule that would effectively repeal the unwarranted tax cut of 2001 that benefited principally high-income taxpayers.
  2. I want to raise the $5.15/hr regular minimum wage and the $3.35/hr minimum wage applicable to waiters and waitress. In Washington, right next door, the minimum wage is $7.63/hr and it applies across the board, including tipped employees. Furthermore, Washington adjusts its minimum wage each year for cost of living. So should Idaho.
  3. I would work to repeal Idaho’s Right to Work law. All it does is prevent unions from effectively representing the working people of this state. It is another example of big business supporting public policies that only benefit big business.
  4. There are two things I would do to give the voters of Idaho a better opportunity to know and understand their representatives. Idaho is one of only three states that does not require members of the legislature to make financial disclosure of their personal net worth. In addition, unlike Washington, Oregon and California, Idaho does not provide its citizens with a voters pamphlet showing the candidates for the various offices on the ballot or a detailed explanation of ballot initiatives. Interested voters have to spend hours looking for this type of information. Many voters go to the polls knowing nothing about some of the candidates on the ballot. Denying voters such easily accessible information is an advantage to incumbents with whom many voters are familiar and a big disadvantage to challengers.

What differentiates you from other candidates? Why should people vote for you?

A man told me last October, when I mentioned to him I was thinking about running, that he could never vote for me because of an issue on which we disagreed. Over the next few months we discussed that issue occasionally and found that we had more common ground that we had known. Finally, last month he told me that he would probably vote for me. When I asked him why, he said, “You’re reasonable intelligent, knowledgeable about the issues, hard working and honest. Even with our differences, what more could I ask for in a representative.” That was the best testimonial I think I’ve ever had.