FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Jan. 27, 2014
Information Contact: Wayne Hoffman (208) 258-2280 ext. 211
IFF budget proposal would dramatically cut taxes and funds schools and roads
The Idaho Freedom Foundation on Friday released a proposed alternative state budget that would dramatically cut taxes but still leave funds available to pay for schools and begin a general fund investment in the state’s roads and public defender programs. IFF’s proposed budget would cut taxes by $180 million, enough to eliminate the corporate income tax or eliminate the tax on groceries.
This is the second year IFF has provided lawmakers with an alternative to Gov. Butch Otter’s budget proposal. The IFF budget blueprint would spend about $2.836 billion, about 2 percent more than is being spent under the current state budget. Otter’s proposed budget grows state spending by $2.947 billion, or about 6 percent, when several of Otter’s spending proposals are treated as expenses against the general fund.
Larger tax cuts in the IFF budget are achieved by putting less money into budget reserve accounts and eliminating much of the additional spending.
“Eliminating the corporate income tax is just one option this budget presents lawmakers; under this plan, legislators could also completely eliminate the tax on groceries or lower other marginal tax rates,” said IFF President Wayne Hoffman. “It’s time for a bold shift in public policy, one that lifts up Idahoans by leaving more money in the economy while still paying for priority public services.”
The budget would also commit $10 million of state general fund money to roads, a departure from the state’s history of funding road projects with gas taxes and federal funds.
“Safe highways and bridges can no longer be regarded as a ‘user fee’ proposition. Everyone benefits from transportation infrastructure. If the Legislature doesn’t commit to funding roads using general tax receipts, eventually lawmakers will opt to raise taxes and fees and no matter what the increase, it will never be enough,” Hoffman said.
The IFF budget provides a 2 percent pay increase for public employees, including teachers and funding for school technology. The budget also fully funds the justice reinvestment recommendations of the Council of State Governments, which would reduce incarceration rates and still keep Idaho a safe place to live. It would also provide funding for a pilot public defender program that would employ free market principles in the defense of criminal defendants.
IFF's alternative budget can be found HERE.