Senate Bill 1326 — Using taxpayer funds for loan assistance

Senate Bill 1326 — Using taxpayer funds for loan assistance

by
Wayne Hoffman
February 12, 2020
Wayne Hoffman
Author Image
February 12, 2020

Bill description: SB 1326 would direct the State Board of Education to set up a loan repayment program for certain teachers. 

Rating: -6

Does it create, expand, or enlarge any agency, board, program, function, or activity of government? Conversely, does it eliminate or curtail the size or scope of government? 

This bill would create a new loan repayment program in which the state pays down the student loan debt of teachers serving in certain rural school districts. 

(-1)

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? 

Repaying a loan is the responsibility of the person who incurred it. This bill would transfer that obligation to the government. 

(-1)

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? 

This bill calls for the government to step in and offer up taxpayer funds to a teacher with college debt. In doing so, it requires taxpayers  (some of whom might even be making their own college loan repayments or are unable to afford college) to make payments that benefit some teachers based solely on their status as being employed in the government education system. 

(-1) 

Does it violate the principle of equal protection under the law? Examples include laws which discriminate or differentiate based on age, gender, or religion or which apply laws, regulations, rules, or penalties differently based on such characteristics. Conversely, does it restore or protect the principle of equal protection under the law? 

The bill distinguishes between rural teachers and urban teachers (the former may apply while the latter may not) and denies application or awards to other government or private sector employees. 

(-1) 

Does it violate the spirit or the letter of either the United States Constitution or the Idaho Constitution? Examples include restrictions on speech, public assembly, the press, privacy, private property, or firearms. Conversely, does it restore or uphold the protections guaranteed in the US Constitution or the Idaho Constitution? 

Under the Idaho Constitution, only the state Legislature can make laws. The Legislature often provides agencies with rulemaking authority, but the standard for this authority is that the Legislature sets parameters in statute under which rules are written. The proposed Idaho Code 33-6205 says, “[t]he state board of education shall define the criteria for determining the schools that are most impacted by quality educator shortages.” This provides no specific instruction to the State Board and is a delegation of legislative authority. 

(-1) 

Does it violate the principles of federalism by increasing federal authority, yielding to federal blandishments, or incorporating changeable federal laws into Idaho statutes or rules? Examples include citing federal code without noting as it is written on a certain date, using state resources to enforce federal law, and refusing to support and uphold the Tenth Amendment. Conversely, does it restore or uphold the principles of federalism? 

In several instances, the bill uses federal definitions and authorities for determining which schools may have teachers that can benefit from the loan repayment program. The legislation is written in such a way that changes to federal law or its application would make a change to state law, making Idaho susceptible to changing federal authority.

(-1)

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