A bill that would reduce Idaho’s top corporate and individual income tax rates from 7.4% to 7.2% and exempt the first $750 of income passed the House by a 58-11 margin, with the final votes being cast along party lines. HB 67, sponsored by House Majority Leader Mike Moyle (R-Star) now moves to the Senate side.
Opponents of the bill argued that having $51.2 million less going into the state’s general fund on an annual basis will make it difficult to devote the resources needed to public education and transportation. There is also concern that the tax cut is really more of a tax shift, because local school districts may be forced to rely even more heavily on levies, moving the tax burden to local communities. Moyle told legislators that education remains his top priority, and that the tax cut will not prevent them from appropriately funding education.
Idaho’s Higher Education Task Force Revealed
IEA member and state Senator Janie Ward-Engelking (D-Boise) was among 36 people named to Governor Otter’s Higher Education Task Force. The group is a mix of legislators, university presidents, college students, business leaders and education professionals. The task force is chaired by Linda Clark from the Idaho State Board of Education and Bob Lokken, CEO of WhiteCloud Analytics. They will look to build on the work of the K-12 Task Force for Improving Education in trying to move Idaho closer to the stated goal of 60% of young adults having a post-secondary degree or certificate by the year 2020. You can see the full list of task force members in this press release from the governor’s office.