Fiscal Impacts of Session’s First Voucher Bill Already Increasing

A voucher bill opposed by Idaho Education Association members and endorsed by the Senate Education Committee last week, is already anticipated to have a much larger fiscal impact on state coffers than disclosed by the bill’s authors.

Senate Bill 1038, co-sponsored by Sen. Tammy Nichols (R-Middleton) and Sen. Brian Lenney (R-Nampa), would allow the creation of “education savings accounts” that parents could use to pay for homeschooling their children or pay for private school tuition — effectively performing the same function as a voucher.

Originally, the bill’s sponsors claimed the bill’s fiscal impact to state coffers would only be $20 million. After questioning by other lawmakers, that figure was revised upward to $40 million.

However, on Monday, the non-partisan Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy released a report showing the real fiscal impact of Senate Bill 1038 would actually be $368.8 million by the year 2025.

In a hearing on Feb. 14, the Senate Education Committee endorsed the bill by a vote 6-3 sending it to the Senate floor where the bill awaits further consideration.


“Mr. Chairman, plain and simple, Senate Bill 1038 is a voucher bill. And our members vehemently oppose it — like they oppose all voucher schemes — for many, many reasons,” said IEA Executive Director Paul Stark, who testified against bill on behalf of IEA members in committee.

The bill is expected to be considered by the full Senate early next week. Also, three new voucher bills are expected to be introduce in the House Education Committee on Wednesday.

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