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Eye On Boise

Idaho revenue outlook looking bright

Idaho’s updated revenue forecast for the coming year was released today, and Gov. Jim Risch said it shows the state could end up with another $200 million-plus surplus at the end of the 2007 fiscal year, on top of the current $203 million it has in the bank from the last fiscal year. “Our economy continues to perform very well,” Risch said. “The projection of a surplus for this fiscal year is not overly surprising. The growth trend has not slowed down in Idaho. … This is very good news for our legislators when they come to town next January.”

Figures from July, the first month of the current fiscal year, showed revenues $12.8 million over official state projections. That included an overage in individual income tax of $3.6 million, corporate income tax of $5.3 million, and sales tax of $3.2 million. Product and miscellaneous taxes also were up slightly.

The numbers bolster Risch’s proposal, to be considered in a special session of the Legislature next Friday, to shift $50 million of the current surplus into ongoing school funding. “There isn’t anyone who will tell you there isn’t $50 million” in ongoing money, Risch said jubilantly. “It’s showed up two years in a row now.”

Mike Ferguson, the governor’s chief economist, said the latest forecast also includes other positive revenue news, including that an extra penny on the sales tax now is forecasted to bring in $219 million annually, up from the previous estimate of $210 million. Risch is proposing to raise the sales tax a penny while reducing property taxes that now go to fund schools, and shift the sales tax proceeds plus some surplus funds to schools to make up their lost property tax funding.

Eye On Boise

News, happenings and more from the Idaho Legislature and the state capital.