Idaho’s House Revenue and Taxation Committee voted 14-2 to send HB 67 to the full House with a “do pass” recommendation. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Mike Moyle (R-Star), would lower the state’s top personal and corporate income tax rates from 7.4% to 7.2% and exempt the first $750 of income. An estimated $51.2 million less would go into Idaho’s general fund each year if the bill passes. It now goes to the full House for a vote. Read Betsy Russell’s story from the Spokesman-Review here.
Democrat Mat Erpelding (D-Boise) cast one of the two dissenting votes and issued a press release, saying that “middle class families will see almost no relief, but will be guaranteed an additional tax at the local level to fund their schools”. Rep. Ron Nate was among those who wanted a larger tax cut, calling HB 67 “weak sauce compared to what we can be doing”.
DeVos Passes U.S. Senate Committee, Full Senate Confirmation Not Guaranteed
Education Secretary Nominee Betsy DeVos cleared the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee in a 12-11 vote along party lines on Tuesday. Her nomination will now move to the full Senate at a date and time still to be determined.
Two Republicans, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) voted in favor of DeVos in committee, but would not commit to voting for her in the full Senate, saying that they still have doubts about DeVos’ stance on traditional public education. Republicans have a 52-48 majority in the Senate, along with Vice President Mike Pence as the tie-breaking vote, so opponents of DeVos will need three Republican Senators to vote against her confirmation. Click here to read an Education Week story on the committee hearing.
As we have shared in previous editions of the Hotline, the IEA is adamantly opposed to the DeVos confirmation. We feel that she is drastically unqualified for the position and would be a disaster for public schools, students and teachers. Please let Senators know your opinion on DeVos by calling 1-855-882-6229 or via e-mail here.
Idaho House Ed Hears from Boise State, AdvanceEd
Back in Boise, the House Education Committee heard a presentation from Boise State University President Dr. Bob Kustra and School of Public Service Dean Corey Cook. Kustra pointed to Boise State’s Albertson’s University project and the over-arching Boise State X workforce development initiative when asked about Idaho’s goal of having 60% of residents with post-secondary degrees or certification by 2020. “We are offering these (and other) programs with the intent of them counting (toward the goal),” Kustra said. He also highlighted Boise State’s growth in computer science, noting that they have more than doubled their number of computer science graduates and 90% of them are finding work in Idaho.
The committee also heard from Dale Kleinert, Director of AdvancED Idaho, which handles school and district accreditation for the state. He discussed the leadership, learning and resource capacity domains which are a key part of the accreditation process, as well as his support of the requirement that every district develop a strategic plan and post it online for all to view. Kleinert also indicated that accreditation process is moving away from an “event-driven process” and toward a “continuous improvement journey”.