BOISE – Idaho’s economic performance is declining on the heels of a “dramatic erosion in resources” due to tax policy changes and falling investments in K-12 and higher education, according to a new report from the Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy.
The report notes that Idaho’s per-capita income is lower than all but one state, Mississippi; its low- and moderate-income residents pay a larger share of their incomes in taxes than do higher earners; per-student school funding is down 16 percent since 2008 in inflation-adjusted figures, while higher-ed funding per student is down 37 percent; and Idaho ranks 31 percent below the national average for tax collections and 41st in the nation for tax collections relative to income levels.
“While Idaho has never been a high-income state, our sharp downward trend in economic performance is alarming,” said Lauren Necochea, director of the center.
Jasper LiCalzi, chairman of the department of political economy at the College of Idaho, said: “Reduced funding for education, both primary and secondary, depresses per capita income, which, along with a regressive system of taxation, reduces tax receipts for the state. These problems cannot be resolved in isolation but only together.”