2018 Legislature's 1st week
The first week of the 2018 Idaho Legislature kicked off with Governor Butch Otter’s State of the State speech. In the speech he talks about where we are as a state and legislation including spending he is proposing for the 2018 Legislature’s consideration. A few items from his speech:
Education – Governor Otter supports funding the continuing support of the teacher career ladder. He also supports the Higher Ed Taskforce’s recommendation to establish a position that will provide oversight for all higher education in Idaho. I support both ideas if we have reasonable assurance we can execute our plans with the people and resources we are putting in place.
Taxes – The early numbers coming in estimate Idaho will receive an additional $100 million in tax receipts if we conform to the federal tax legislation recently passed. I’d expect to see legislation that will reduce the income tax or sales tax rates or both to at least eliminate the increase in anticipated tax revenues and maybe more. We need to be very cautious and certain our tax estimate numbers are correct, otherwise we could create unintended general fund consequences.
Transportation – Last session the legislature passed a large transportation bill. A part of this bill allowed for a transfer of half the excess eliminator to be transferred to a rainy day fund and the other half to be transferred for transportation. A drafting error in the bill allowed for the transfer of the first half ($27.5 million) into the rainy day fund, but left out the transfer part in the second half transfer to transportation. Governor Otter took this opportunity to continue to show his opposition to using general funds for transportation by not recognizing the transfer in his budget number. I’m expecting legislative action in the next week or so will correct this transfer for transportation.
Ruling Making – The first several weeks of the legislative session are made up of a lot of committee work to review the agency rules. These are rules established by the agencies generally based the laws passed in the prior session. Rule review is somewhat unique to Idaho, but an important part of ensuring the intent of the laws are consistent with the rules that govern its citizens.
The coming week consist of a full schedule of Agency budget hearing as well as a full load of reviewing agency rules.
Senator Jeff Agenbroad