End of Session Review
As the 2018 Idaho Legislative session comes to an end, I want to express my appreciation for allowing me the honor to serve you as your District 13 Senator in the State of Idaho Senate. In my second session, I’m pleased to share with you there are many areas of your state government that are working well. There are also those areas, like many large businesses, that aren’t working so well. We will continue to work to improve these areas.
My goal as your Senator continues to be to protect and enhance three areas important to Nampa and the State of Idaho. These three areas include: education, infrastructure, and the economy. My legislative committee appointments directly and indirectly supported these efforts. My assignments are the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee (JFAC) and the Health and Welfare Committees.
Economy – I’ll begin with the economy and arguably the biggest piece of legislation passed this session. This legislation is the largest income tax reduction in recent history, providing $225 million in Idaho income tax relief. The reduction was made up of two bills – which I was pleased to co-sponsor and support. These bills reduced Idaho’s income tax rates from 7.4% to 6.925%, putting more money back into the pockets of Idaho’s citizens and businesses. The total reduction in Idaho income tax was provided through a combination of the reduced tax rate, neutralizing the $100 million negative effects to Idahoan’s resulting from conforming to the new federal government tax changes and increasing the Idaho Child tax credit.
Government’s role in promoting our economy continues to be creating an environment where hardworking individuals – including those with an entrepreneurial spirit – can thrive. In part, this includes providing appropriate guidelines to ensure the public’s safety and fair play. Guidelines must be balanced with simply knowing when to get out of the way of our small businesses. I will continue to work hard to ensure Idaho’s regulations find and keep this balance.
Education – The legislature continues to support Idaho K-12 education by passing over a 2 billion dollar public education budget. This budget includes funding the 4th year of the 5-year teacher career ladder plan. Idaho employs many great teachers who are making a difference in the lives of our children, and our future. Our job is to provide them with the tools and adequate support to accomplish our goals. Our future depends on it.
The legislature also recognizes the value Idaho gains from an effective Career Technical Education(CTE). CTE is the valuable bridge between school and career. The College of Western Idaho does a great job providing this valuable education to our post secondary and adult students who desire to further both their academic and technical career education. I am pleased to have supported additional funding and guidance for CWI to expand the positive impact they make on our community.
Infrastructure – Last year the legislature approved $300 million in GARVEE bond funding, largely to improve and widen our much-needed freeway between Nampa and Caldwell. The plan a year ago was to begin this project by improving the freeway between Franklin and Karcher roads in Nampa.
Recently, the Idaho Transportation Department and the legislature have developed a plan to expand the initial freeway improvements from Nampa to Caldwell. To date, a majority of the work on the freeway expansion has been done on the design, logistics and bid proposals. We should expect to see construction of this project begin in the coming months and over the next year.
While we will all need to put up with the inconvenience caused by the construction, this continues to be great news for Nampa and Canyon County. The expansion will reduce the traffic bottleneck providing additional safety and allowing commerce to flow with fewer restrictions. I was pleased to be part of these legislative efforts and understand we have much work to do to improve our State’s infrastructure.
Your input and knowledge is very important to me, as I strive to do the best job I can for you. While I am active in our community, it remains important that I also hear from you. This session, I was given the opportunity to support several ideas of Nampa constituents. We won many of those battles -- and lost others.
One piece of successful legislation I was able to sponsor resulted from a District 13 constituent contacting me several months ago about a problem he had encountered. He was a victim of a credit breach by Equifax and was at significant risk of identity theft due to the information breach. To protect his identity, he began freezing his and his wife’s credit information learning that he would have to pay a fee to each of the three credit reporting agencies. Paying the credit reporting agency a fee wasn’t fair since it was the credit reporting agency that breached his information, requiring the freeze.
I was able to draft and gain support to pass legislation allowing each of us to freeze and unfreeze our credit information once each year at no cost. I appreciate the opportunity to provide a common sense, simple solution to a problem that affects each one of us.
An engaged constituency is the key to our success. I encourage you to stay informed and engaged about your State government through some simple tools. The State of Idaho’s Legislative website is https://legislature.idaho.gov. Listen and watch your legislature in action, and track the various bills we are considering.
I appreciate hearing from you, and encourage you to contact me at JAgenbroad@Senate.Idaho.Gov whenever you have an idea or concern about the State’s legislation.
With great respect,
Senator District 13