“There are things we know we know. There are known unknowns-things we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns-things we don’t know we don’t know.” Donald Rumsfeld 1932-2021
The first week of the 2nd Regular Session of the 66th Idaho Legislature convened on Monday 10th January 2022. We are currently moving quickly and efficiently and intend to conduct our business by 25th March 2022 and return home to you, our gracious and kind constituents.
I serve on Health and Welfare and Environment, Energy, and Technology and as Vice Chairman of Resources and Conservation. Here is an update of what was on this week’s docket.
Governor Little’s State of the State Address:
- Idaho’s economy is stronger than ever before. We are one of only four states with more jobs today than before the pandemic.
- We have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country. We have a balanced budget and robust reserves.
- We are the least regulated state in the nation.
- We have a record surplus of $1.9B
- We returned $450M back to Idaho citizens
- Our legislative and state lawsuit against Biden’s vaccine mandates is being heard.
- Unrolled Leading Idaho Plan
- Fiscal Accountability
- Pay off State building debt for a savings of over $62M to you the taxpayers
- Pay off deferred maintenance and backlogged repairs.
- Prepared to pay back $1B in income tax relief over the next five years
- Education starts in the home. Children today are the workforce of tomorrow.
- Add $1.1B over the next five years to support Idaho education
- $47M to support literacy.
- $50M for Empowering Parents Grant for computers, tutoring, internet, and other needs.
- Continued support for our law enforcement and veterans.
- Cybersecurity Task Force
- Election Integrity
- Broadband, better fire management and investments in CTE, colleges, workforce development and housing, and childcare
- $50M into behavioral and mental health and substance abuse support.
- Details of the breakdown of the Governor’s proposed budget can be found at: https://gov.idaho.gov/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/fy23-budget-highlights_jan2022.pdf
Income Tax Relief:
FY2021 state tax revenue from all sources was $5.006B a 24.2% increase over FY2020 revenue. It was just a few short years ago when conversation revolved around when we would ever cross the $4B revenue mark.
H0436, or the 2022 Tax Relief bill, was introduced this week and would make the following changes to Idaho’s income tax laws. It consolidates the income tax brackets from five brackets to four and lowers rates to 1%, 3%, 4.5% and 6% retroactive to January 1, 2022. It lowers the corporate income tax to 6% retroactive to January 1, 2022. It provides a one-time tax rebate of $350 million, returning approximately 12% of 2020 Idaho personal income tax (line 20) or $75 for each taxpayer and dependant, whichever is greater. This bill provides $350 million of tax relief through a one-time tax rebate in FY 2022 and $251 million in on-going tax relief beginning in FY 2023 by lowering income tax brackets. These reductions are partially offset by $94 million per year from the Tax Relief fund.
We spent a day or two ahead of the session talking about Idaho’s Economic Outlook and Property Taxes. Here is the link to the 6th and 7th January 2022 Idaho Economic and Revenue Assessment Outlook report: https://legislature.idaho.gov/lso/bpa/eora/. The Idaho Association of Counties and the Idaho Association of County Assessors also put together a simple video showing how property taxes are assessed, levied, and collected. Please take a few minutes to understand how each of our taxing districts work. https://youtu.be/J7pCfAdYPzU.
We held our annual Respectful Workforce Training this week. Your legislative body must hold ourselves and this institution to a higher set of standards. Harassment, bullying, and intimidation will not be tolerated. We also participated in an Active Shooter Training. This is something new, and with the increased threats, it was welcome.
I was honored for the third year in a row to be recognized as an Idaho Ag All-Star by the Food Producers of Idaho. Food Producers of Idaho represents over 40 farm and commodity organizations and agribusinesses, including many from the Magic Valley. Food Producers is a unique organization that addresses key issues and legislation impacting Idaho’s farmers/ranchers and agriculture industry.
We also heard from the Idaho Businesses for Education earlier this week on the current labor market and its impact on Idaho. There are fewer people on the sidelines looking for work. Prior to Covid, Idaho had consumed most of its workforce, and we are fighting for a workforce that does not exist.
I am honored to serve the good people of District 25 and look forward to seeing and hearing from you. Stronger Roots. Stronger Families. Stronger Communities. Please follow along on Facebook and Twitter or Idaho’s Legislative Website for agendas, minutes, rules, and proposed legislation. www.legislature.idaho.gov