On December 16, 2015 Wayne Hoffman, the head Grinch over at the Idaho Freedom Foundation published an article titled Otter, lawmakers must ease burdens in 2016. It began by claiming:
“This winter, Idaho lawmakers and Gov. Butch Otter must figure out how to provide $100 million — and as much as $200 million — in tax relief. We’re talking about real tax relief. Why cut taxes? Because Idahoans are struggling to make ends meet, and the state’s confiscatory tax policies are squarely to blame.
A person earning about $11,000 in taxable income finds herself in Idaho’s top tax bracket — 7.4 percent — the highest in the region. Cutting income tax rates, contrary to popular belief, doesn’t benefit just the rich, it benefits the working poor too.”
Wayne’s article linked to their very curious full budget proposal, which calls for a total of $3,151,920,000, which is a 2.6% increase over 2016. I say curious because it makes a point of including $5,000,000 (an underwhelming 0.16%) to Reduce federal dependency. What are the biggest changes they propose?
The table shown above lists the nine biggest winners - those being increased by more than 3%. (Click on it to see a larger and clearer view). Sensibly, public school support is up by 4.8%. The rightmost column shows that this item represents over 49% of the state budget. Adding in the other education categories of professional technical education (1.89%), colleges and universities (8.6%), and community colleges (1.11) leads to a total of 60.68%, which is almost all of the 63.07% total.
Another table shown above lists the eight biggest losers - those being decreased by more than 3%. The sum for those items is only 3% of the total budget. Seven of them individually are less than a piddling 1% of the total budget, and three are just 0.1% or less. They don’t make much of a difference, so including them seems like vendettas rather than carefully considered cutting. Cutting both the judicial branch and the state police is particularly foolish. Are maintaining current levels of justice and public safety unimportant?