This surplus should be returned to Idahoans for Tax Relief
Greetings Idaho State Legislator: CC: Governor Little and Lt. Governor McGeachin:
Idaho’s Education Dept. received a 29% increase in spending in the past two years including taxpayer funded health care. Unfortunately test scores in our schools do not seem to be improving in relationship to the funding for education for our children.
I certainly am not against education as I have a Ph.D. However, the legislature just gave a big budget increase for education including paying for health care for teachers and administrators.
Reclaim Idaho has an initiative on the fall ballet which if passed will further increase the budget for education adding another $323 plus million for K-12. Now Governor Little wants to dump another $412 million to the education budget or about 27% more than Reclaim Idaho wanted. This special session is nothing but a farce as the bill being drafted will be the only item to be discussed during this special session. This does not give the people a say in the decision to spend this surplus amount on education. It is just another way to shift more funds to education without a vote from the tax payers’ representatives. This special session should have a serious discussion about where this money should go and not just be a session to ok what the governor has had drafted.
Instead of putting millions of more taxpayer dollars we should be talking about getting rid of the United Nations Common Core which is still part of Idaho’s education in K-12. Idahoans should be concerned that Idaho students starting college believe in Socialism (In the last presidential election, college students preferred Socialist Bernie Sanders for President) and favor the fraudulent green energy programs that can never provide 24/7 electricity without a fossil fuel backup.
My property taxes have doubled in the past 4 years and went up 30% in actual dollars last year. The same is true for most home owners in the Magic Valley. Some of the 2 billion should go to property owners. Idaho’s taxpayers forget the trojan horse namely Medicaid expansion which will once again add tens of millions more to the budget as it has since inception. Prudence would dictate that our Governor and legislators should be putting away some of that $2 billion to pay for the large increases expected for Medicaid expansion spending.
In Idaho, the Republican Party holds 86 of the 105 seats in the Legislature, about 82% of the Idaho House and Senate. That’s a super-super majority – a veto-proof majority. Shouldn’t a special session of the Legislature to address a $2 billion surplus be able to achieve conservative policies, something other governors and state legislators would be impressed by and seek to repeat? Not here.
This fiscal year, Idaho is projected to collect about $3.2 billion in corporate and individual income taxes, $2.4 billion in sales taxes, and more than $2.1 billion in property taxes for local governments. With a $2 billion surplus, it’s not difficult to imagine cutting property taxes in half or more or providing substantial tax relief in other tax categories such as repeal of the grocery tax.
Little could even provide sales tax relief. He campaigned four years ago that he would eliminate the sales tax on groceries and reneged on that promise after he was elected. and he has simply not followed through with so much as a proposal to address the tax relief issue. This legislation will not provide any significant tax relief to the middle- or lower-income taxpayers aside from a onetime payment.
Little is proposing a single take-it-or-leave-it bill with three components: A skimpy income tax reduction from 6% to a flat 5.8%, a one-time $500 million income tax rebate, and diverting sales taxes into a new fund for public schools with a price tag of $410 million. There is no existing emergency requiring this new education fund now. Keep in mind local school districts have over $1 billion in reserve fund balances. This special session is no more than a way for Little and his cronies to jam through a bill that does little or nothing to help Idaho’s taxpayers but will please the Teachers Union’s whose vote and support he is counting on this November.
If the Legislature approves the governor’s plan, expect Reclaim Idaho to take a victory lap. The group will get more than it was asking for, and they will have the necessary discretionary funds to implement their socialist ideas, hopeful that a compliant governor and Legislature will just roll over and do its bidding. Idaho taxpayers and school children will continue to pay the price for weak leadership.
THE BOTTOM LINE: NO MORE MONEY FOR EDUCATION! Return this 2 billion in tax relief to the taxpayers who are suffering with high inflation and fuel prices. Let the voters determine whether or not they want more of their money spent on education by voting on Prop 1 this November.
A concerned citizen of Idaho for nearly 51 years. Adrian Arp, Ph.D.