Idaho Legislature Adjournment May Hit Snag
The Idaho Legislature is moving closer to ending the session. However, there is one issue that lawmakers say will keep them there until Friday, and possibly into next week. It’s a disagreement on how surplus money should be spent, and the main point of contention is whether to give taxpayers a break, or to save for a rainy day. Senate GOP Caucus Chair Russ Fulcher says there’s about a $105 million surplus that’s likely going to be split evenly between restoring teacher salaries, tax cuts, and savings accounts. However, at a closed-door meeting of the Senate GOP Wednesday, Fulcher says Republican lawmakers couldn’t agree on how they wanted to disperse that money. Most agree on the restoration of teacher pay, and a bill that would do just that made it out of committee Wednesday. The measure restores reductions planned under last year’s ‘Students Come First’ education reforms, but prioritizes the reforms, including merit pay and laptops, for any new funding. But, there’s still a divide among Senate Republicans on where the rest of those funds should go. Some say $35 million should go to a Gov. Otter-backed tax cut and $35 million to savings. The bill providing that tax cut for people and corporations, which has a hearing in a Senate committee Thursday, would save about $71-a-year for families making $100,000 in salary. Others say the remaining $70 million should only go to savings. Fulcher says lawmakers cannot leave town until this issue is resolved.