Governor welcomes excess identity in favor of investments in Ed infrastructure / Public Information Service
Governor Brad Little kicked off Idaho’s 2022 legislative session on Monday with a State Address State outlining its budget priorities.
Unlike last year’s remote talk, Little’s address was in person at the Capitol This year. At the top of his priority list are education, infrastructure needs and tax cuts.
Little touted the state’s record surplus of $ 1.9 billion, but said the state should always be careful how it spends.
“We need to be even more vigilant in times of perceived abundance to make prudent decisions and stand the test of time,” urged Little. “We haven’t spent our way to a surplus, and the budget surplus should never become an excuse for unnecessary spending.”
Federal government COVID-19 stimulus money bolstered the record year for Idaho. Little proposed a $ 1 billion tax cut over five years, which would cost around $ 250 million in the first year and $ 340 million by fiscal 2026.
Little has also proposed increasing K-12 education funding by 11%, with a small portion covered by federal coronavirus aid. It includes accelerated salary increases for all school staff and bonuses for teachers. Schools have faced increased stress during the pandemic.
Little said the funds would be an investment in Idaho’s future.
“Idaho schools are partnering with parents for their children’s education,” Little said. “This is why I am proposing to make the biggest investment ever in education in Idaho. My budget has added $ 1.1 billion over the next five years to improve education in Idaho.”
Little added that the state must also meet its growing infrastructure needs.
“We cannot continue our record economic trajectory if our logging trucks cannot cross the old bridges and if we cannot bring our agricultural products to market,” Little said. “My Budget invests an additional $ 200 million in ongoing funding to fully meet our known local and state-wide maintenance needs.”
Little has proposed another one-time funding of $ 200 million to cover a third of Idaho’s failed bridges backlog.
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