After passing the House Education Committee in a narrow 9-7 vote, the private school voucher bill, HB 590, is expected to be up for a vote on the House floor Friday. Please contact your local representative immediately and tell them to vote NO on HB 590! If you are not sure who your representative is, use this tool to help you find out.
Proponents of HB 590 will tell you that it is to help underprivileged and disadvantaged children and will have no fiscal impact because it is “just a scholarship bill”. If that were really the case, then there would be no need for legislative approval or state government oversight—the scholarship mechanism already exists in the private sector. We know they are working behind the scenes on additional legislation that would divert public money into their scholarship shell. We can’t allow this to happen!
With Idaho public schools already under-resourced and 93 of the state’s 115 districts running “supplemental” levies, we can’t afford the hit to the general fund from private school vouchers. There are only two options—higher taxes or fewer resources for all public programs, including students and teachers in public schools.
For more information on why private school vouchers are wrong for Idaho and represent a significant threat to public education, visit the Protect Idaho’s Public Schools website. Up to date information is also available through the IEA Facebook page and Twitter feed (@IdahoEdAssoc). A one-page PDF with information about why vouchers hurt public schools is also available for printing and sharing.
$200 Million Tax Cut Bill Clears Legislature, Headed to Governor’s Desk
The Idaho Senate passed a $200 million tax-cut bill, HB 463, on a 26-9 vote Thursday. That sends the bill to the desk of Governor C.L. “Butch Otter, who has indicated strong support for this legislation.
According to Idaho Education News, IEA member Sen. Janie Ward-Engleking, D-Boise, argued against the bill because the “net cut of $104.5 million jeopardizes a host of education programs.” Betsy Russell of the Spokesman-Review quotes JFAC Chair Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, as saying her constituents’ “biggest message of all has been they want the legislature to live up to its constitutional mandate to thoroughly fund schools and not rely on supplemental levies, which have been mis-named.”
HB 463 helps Idaho conform with federal tax policy, but the new federal law created an estimated state tax burden for Idaho of nearly $100 million. The core of the new state legislation is a reduction in state income taxes by .475%.