Idaho’s top two statewide elected officials expressed confidence in the state’s ability to navigate economic uncertainties arising from the convergence of inflation, high interest rates, and ongoing rapid growth. Governor Brad Little and Lieutenant Governor Scott Bedke addressed a knowledgeable and influential audience at the 77th annual Associated Taxpayers of Idaho conference in downtown Boise.
Little and Bedke underscored the Idaho Legislature’s initiatives aimed at mitigating economic challenges, such as reducing property taxes, lowering income taxes, fortifying rainy day savings accounts, and utilizing a substantial state surplus for investments in public education, state parks, roads, and infrastructure projects.
Governor Little, in his nearly 20-minute speech, emphasized the success of the Idaho Launch grant program. This program provides high school seniors in Idaho with up to $8,000 for career-technical education, workforce training, or pursuing higher education in in-demand fields. Little mentioned the expansion of the Idaho Launch program during the 2023 legislative session through the passage of House Bill 24, addressing the need for more skilled workers.
Lieutenant Governor Bedke highlighted the prudent use of Idaho’s record $2 billion surplus from 2022. He outlined the investments made back into the state, including returning money to taxpayers, paying off callable bonds, bolstering savings accounts, and investing in critical infrastructure such as roads, bridges, and water systems.
While neither official unveiled specific policy proposals for the upcoming 2024 legislative session, Governor Little acknowledged that the era of billion-dollar surpluses in Idaho might be waning due to multiple rounds of tax cuts impacting state revenue collections.
The Associated Taxpayers of Idaho, a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization, serves as a conduit for taxpayers’ perspectives to reach policymakers through research and education initiatives.