Four solid ideas for the state’s budget surplus

Four solid ideas for the state’s budget surplus

by
Wayne Hoffman
November 12, 2021
Wayne Hoffman
Author Image
November 12, 2021

Idaho Gov. Brad Little and the Legislature have an incredible — and maybe once-in-a-generation opportunity — to use the budget gargantuan surplus to rid the state of one or more albatrosses around residents’ necks. These albatrosses are, in no particular order:

  • The state’s progressive income tax
  • Property taxes
  • The grocery tax
  • Federal control of public schools

Questions persist about how much of the state’s $1.4 billion surplus is temporary and how much of it is a reflection of the ongoing health of the state’s economy. The state has a healthy enough budget reserve fund that’s separate from the surplus and makes getting rid of the income tax a reasonable proposition. 

The state collects $2.2 billion from individual and corporate income taxes. Bringing the income tax to or near zero is well within reach. That would not only enhance Idaho’s attractiveness as a place to live, work, and retire, but also would stop the state from stealing money from the people who earned it. 

Similarly, property taxes collected by cities, counties, school districts, and other small tax districts in Idaho total more than $2.5 billion. Dramatically reducing or eliminating this burden is doable now, and it would enhance the state’s livability, reduce the cost of housing, and stop property owners from feeling as if they don’t truly own their land. 

Prior to the surplus becoming so large, several of the Republican candidates for governor — Ammon Bundy, Ed Humpreys, and Janice McGeachin — were already talking about these kinds of dramatic changes to the state’s tax laws. Little hasn’t said what he plans to offer this coming legislative session, but hopefully he won’t shy away from good public policies just because his opponents are talking about it.

The easiest tax policy reform to accomplish with the surplus is the promise Little made before he became governor: the elimination of the tax on groceries. The cost for doing so is less than $80 million, which could be covered by just 6% of the surplus. Now there’s even more reason for state elected officials to act: federal monetary policies are driving food prices higher, meaning the tax burden on Idahoans is growing. Getting rid of the tax on groceries is not only a form of tax relief, but also a form of inflationary relief. 

Finally, the feds give about $300 million for the state’s government school system. Using a portion of the surplus to eliminate federal intervention in the education system would free school districts and teachers to teach as they see fit, not as seen fit by the Biden administration or the next president. It would mean an end to federal intervention in our classrooms, and that would benefit all Idaho schoolchildren, parents, and teachers. 

This is the year for Idaho’s elected officials to be bold, to use the state’s budget surplus to end confiscatory taxes and free the state from Washington, D.C.’s bureaucracy. The legislative session is just around the corner. Let your lawmakers and Gov. Little know this is not the time to make timid incremental changes. Tell them to do the things that will dramatically improve our reasons for wanting to continue to call Idaho home. 

View Comments
  • To: Brad Little says:

    “Three great forces rule the world: Stupidity, fear, and greed.”-Albert Einstein

  • Bee says:

    ''Prior to the surplus becoming so large, several of the Republican candidates for governor — Ammon Bundy, Ed Humpreys, and Janice McGeachin — were already talking about these kinds of dramatic changes to the state’s tax laws. Little hasn’t said what he plans to offer this coming legislative session, but hopefully he won’t shy away from good public policies just because his opponents are talking about it.''

    Brad LITTLE (r) and Janice 'Do Nothing' McGeachin are NOT interested in serving Idahoans with financial relief, or Constitutionally for that matter.
    Ed Humphreys MAY eventually be a good candidate, but currently is too young/inexperienced and would likely be steam rolled by lobbyists. Ammon Bundy has DEMONSTRATED with business successes, activisim, and land rights fighting (even when it meant IMPRISONMENT) that he is the best candidate for Governor of Idaho. Look up his website and watch his TownHalls-see for yourself.

  • Sue says:

    Bundy is an outsider who has had a "taste" of how government works. He's got my vote.

    Amassing tax $$ from Idaho residents, so they have to spend more of their hard earned dollars to inflate state coffers is not a wise economic policy. We all know that a state or country can't tax itself into prosperity.

  • Maggie Goff, Child of God says:

    I would like to see Idaho giving each household storable food, water, and a generator. After Ammon is elected Governor I assume the Federal government will be targeting Idaho. We need a hedge of protection around our great state. This means we will need to be able to produce our own goods to provide for ourselves and in the interim we will need to be able to at least eat, drink water, and have power. If there is any money left after that….. I suggest we buy as many KJV Bibles as possible to put into our government schools.

    • Brad Gee says:

      If we are going to have Bibles in our schools, we need to make sure all GODS have equal representation.. It just cant be your GOD.

  • Idaho Freedom Foundation
    802 W. Bannock Street, Suite 405, Boise, Idaho 83702
    p 208.258.2280 | e [email protected]
    COPYRIGHT © 2021 Idaho freedom Foundation
    magnifiercrossmenucross-circle
    >
    linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram