IEA President Penni Cyr joined KTVB (Channel 7, Boise) for an in-depth conversation about education on the public affairs program Viewpoint. The show will air this Sunday, February 7, at 6:30 AM, with replays on 24/7 (available on many cable systems around the state) at 9:00 AM, 10:00 AM, Noon, 1:00 PM, 2:00 PM, and 5:30 PM.
Cyr and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra sat down separately with host Doug Petcash to share their perspectives on the current landscape of education in Idaho, along with what changes should be made for the future. The discussion was wide-ranging, with Cyr communicating the IEA position on a number of important topics, including:
- Public education budget requests by Ybarra and Governor Otter
- The Career Ladder salary allocation formula
- Restoring operational funding to 2009 levels
- Keys for Idaho to attract and retain quality teachers
- Concerns about increased use of alternative authorization by districts
- Proposed constitutional amendment that would allow private schools to receive public funds
The entire Viewpoint show will also be posted on KTVB’s Viewpoint web page sometime on Monday. Check the Hotline, as well as our social media platforms, for more information.
Lewiston Tribune Skeptical About Tax Cut Bill
The editorial board of the Lewiston Tribune has weighed in on HB 380, the tax cut bill championed by Rep. Mike Moyle (R-Star), which passed the House earlier this week. The editorial opines that the cuts won’t achieve the goal of attracting companies and wealthy individuals to Idaho, but could have a debilitating impact on public education and other important projects. The Idaho Statesman also picked up the editorial, and you can read it in its entirety below.
To hear Idaho Freedom Foundation President Wayne Hoffman tell it, House Republican Leader Mike Moyle’s $27.8 million tax cut is the stuff of cotton candy.
Once the spun sugar melts in your mouth, you’re left with a sweet aftertaste and a paper cone.
Hoffman says the Moyle bill to lower the top income tax brackets and boost a sales tax grocery tax credit is “pretty difficult to get excited about.”
It “lacks ambition and ultimately does little to resolve Idaho’s confiscatory taxation scheme. …”
The bill “would be better than nothing, but not by much.”
Idaho’s tax hawk just let the cat out of the bag.
Of course, he’ll take Moyle’s bill — which cleared the Idaho House on Wednesday — as a last resort. But Hoffman freely admits Moyle’s plan is not much more than a political confection in an election year.
Thanks to the Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy, it’s already clear Moyle’s bill won’t make much difference to low-income and middle-class taxpayers.
The four-fifths of Idahoans who live in households with incomes below $99,000 will split about 41 percent of the savings. That leaves the 20 percent at the top to enjoy the rest.
So somebody with taxable income of $22,000 will save $7. To the employee with a taxable income of $30,000, Moyle’s plan means an extra $18. And to the wage earner with a taxable income of $51,000, the Republican leader would hand over $23 more.
People at the low end of the income scale pay a higher proportion of their earnings in taxes — but Idaho’s system is better than most. The tax burden gap between rich and poor is comparatively smaller in the Gem State.
Which tells you that Moyle’s plan isn’t exactly enriching those at the top, either.
Take the middle-management executive making a taxable income of $126,000. If Moyle has his way, she’ll keep an extra $63.
Or the corporate vice president pulling down $1.2 million. He saves $815. That may sound generous until you consider it’s still about a half of a percent off the tax bill.
What about the CEO who reported earning more than $5 million? The $4,600 Moyle’s bill saves him is chump change compared to the six-figure income tax bill he owes.
Certainly, that’s more money than he’d find in his sofa — but in the scheme of things, that’s about what it’s worth to him. Certainly no millionaire is going to relocate to Idaho — or expand a company here — to save $4,000.
On the other hand, $27.8 million is a big pot of money in a state budget that is still digging out of the debris left behind by the Great Recession.
Factor in inflation and enrollment growth and public schools have yet to catch up. In marginal dollars, colleges and universities are still behind where they were nearly a decade ago.
The amount Moyle would dribble away is enough to provide:
– About half the amount needed to fund the second installment of the career ladder that will make Idaho teaching salaries more competitive.
– More than enough to cover the cost of Idaho’s catastrophic health care program. CAT is asking for $22 million to pay the medical bills for indigents. Counties pay the first $11,000 of each claim; CAT is responsible for the rest.
– At least twice the amount Gov. Butch Otter is asking to expand the meager college scholarship program Idaho offers new and continuing students.
– The entire budget increase the governor is seeking for Idaho’s four-year institutions of higher learning.
Idaho did not get into this mess because it overspent in lush times.
It got into this mess because the politicians cut taxes more deeply than the state could afford.
Whether it was the ill-advised income tax cuts on the eve of the 2001 recession or former Gov. and now U.S. Sen. Jim Risch’s maneuver to eliminate local school moorings to stable property tax levies two years before the crash, the pattern was the same.
When hard times came, nobody even considered repealing the tax earmarks — and instead lawmakers unsheathed their budget knives.
If Moyle has his way, it will happen again.