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Senate Bill 1278 — Driver training reimbursement

Senate Bill 1278 — Driver training reimbursement

Lindsay Atkinson
February 6, 2020

Bill description: SB 1278 increases fee-funded government subsidies for driver training programs operated by the government.

Rating: -3

Does it transfer a function of the private sector to the government? Examples include government ownership or control of any providers of goods or services such as the Land Board’s purchase of a self-storage facility, mandatory emissions testing, or pre-kindergarten. Conversely, does it eliminate a function of government or return a function of government to the private sector?

SB 1278 increases the amount of money used to subsidize driver training programs operated by the government in competition with private businesses. The money for these subsidies is collected by a fee assessed whenever an individual obtains or renews a driver’s license in Idaho. Private driver training businesses are already at a disadvantage due to this program and increasing the subsidy for government-operated programs increases the disadvantage.


Does it increase government spending (for objectionable purposes) or debt? Conversely, does it decrease government spending or debt?

Currently, public schools that offer a driver training program receive $125 from the state for each student who completes their program. SB 1278 would increase this amount to $150 per student. This is an increase in government spending.


Does it increase government redistribution of wealth? Examples include the use of tax policy or other incentives to reward specific interest groups, businesses, politicians, or government employees with special favors or perks; transfer payments; and hiring additional government employees. Conversely, does it decrease government redistribution of wealth?

In Idaho, public schools that run public driver training programs receive $125 from the state for each student who completes their program. This money comes out of an account that all Idaho licensed drivers pay into when they obtain or renew their driver’s license.

This represents a redistribution of wealth. This money is only given out to public driver training programs, yet all licensed drivers pay into this system. Even though this system is presented as a reimbursement to help cut down the cost to educate new drivers, it really only helps to cut down the cost for certain new drivers — those that use public driver training programs.

Many Idahoans use private driver training programs. While they pay into this driver education reimbursement system, the money they pay ends up supporting a public program that they never use. In fact, they pay for a program that is actually competing against the private program that they did choose.


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