The Senate has passed HB 303a on a 26-7 vote, and then took up HB 275, a House-passed bill that’s long been hanging on the Senate calendar. The bill changes the distribution of state lottery proceeds for the next five years, holding the two regular recipients - schools, and the state’s permanent building fund - to the amount they received in 2008, and giving the excess to the state’s bond levy equalization fund. That program, enacted in response to a lawsuit over Idaho’s school funding system, matches a portion of school district costs for school bonds; the program’s cost increases each year as it phases in and covers more bond issues. If lottery profits grow sufficiently, 3/8 would go to the building fund, 3/8 to schools, and 1/4 to the bond levy equalization fund for the next five years. After that, from Sept. 31, 2014 on, the distribution would revert back to the current split, half to schools, half to the permanent building fund. The idea is that after that date, cigarette tax funds now going to pay for the state Capitol renovation would become available as a possible funding source. The bill passed the Senate on a 27-6 vote.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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