Democratic gubernatorial candidate Keith Allred has issued a statement on the latest April state tax revenue figures, sticking by his contention that Gov. Butch Otter was guilty of “irrational pessimism” in his approach to the state budget during this year’s legislative session. The preliminary figures show state tax revenues falling $55.5 million below projections for April, the biggest revenue month of the fiscal year.
Allred says the figures show that 2009 was a “terrible year economically in Idaho,” based on income tax returns that reflect 2009, but also show that 2010 and 2011 will be better, based on an uptick in sales tax revenues in the first part of 2010. “They were wrong to build next year’s budget based on the assumption that it will be as bad economically as this year,” Allred says of the governor and this year’s Legislature. “Unfortunately, it’s Idaho’s school kids who will bear the brunt of this mistake. Because of Otter’s irrational pessimism, we cut funding for educating our kids for the first time in Idaho history. This first-ever cut to Idaho public education is the biggest mistake state government has made in decades.” Click below to read Allred’s full statement.
May 4, 2010
Allred: Otter’s still missing the point
And Idaho’s kids are paying for it
A statement from Keith Allred, candidate for governor 2010:
The preliminary revenue figures for April tell us two things about the Idaho economy that have been clear for some time. First, 2009 was a terrible year economically in Idaho. Second, 2010 and 2011 will be much better.
The preliminary revenue figures also tell us two things about the decisions that the Governor and the Legislature made in this last session. First, they were right to hold the line on spending for the current fiscal year. Second, they were wrong to build next year’s budget based on the assumption that it will be as bad economically as this year.
April is the biggest revenue month because that’s when our state income tax is due. As every taxpayer knows, those returns reflect Idahoan’s income stretching back 16 months to January, 2009. The backward looking income tax return numbers were the weak part of the April numbers.
In contrast, sales tax figures tell us the current state of the Idaho economy. And the sales tax numbers for April exceeded projections. This is the third time in four months that that has happened.
Otter should do the math: Idahoans are trying to dig out of this bad economy.
Viewing policy decisions for next year based on last year’s income tax returns is like trying to drive by looking in the rearview mirror. In contrast, the ongoing trend of higher-than-expected sales tax revenue tells us that we need a major course correction.
All four evidence-based projections provided to the Governor and the Legislature at the beginning of the session said that next year would be better economically than this year. As the sales tax numbers continue to confirm, the Governor was wrong to project that next year will be just as bad economically as this year. Unfortunately, it’s Idaho’s school kids who will bear the brunt of this mistake. Because of Otter’s irrational pessimism, we cut funding for educating our kids for the first time in Idaho history.
This first-ever cut to Idaho public education is the biggest mistake state government has made in decades. School districts are setting their budgets for next year right now. In Montpelier a few weeks ago, a schoolteacher told me that second graders there will be in classes of 36. As a dad whose daughter will be in second grade next year, I was appalled. April’s revenue numbers only add to my frustration. It doesn’t have to be this way.
Otter has characterized his decision to cut education as prudent. It’s not. It’s reckless and wrong. The new fiscal year begins July 1. The growing revenue numbers will continue to make it clear just how wrong Otter was. The problem is that there will be no magic wand to wave at that point to restore the academic achievement that our kids have lost.
This governor cut our kids’ education when it did not need to be — and should not have been — cut. It’s time for a change in leadership.