I’ve had a couple of people question the premise of my reporting on the price tag of tax-cut proposals from the GOP candidates for governor – can a proposal like that have a price tag? The answer is yes. State economists compare the amount of revenue raised by current law to the amount under proposed changes to determine the cost. And underlying that, Idaho’s state Constitution requires a balanced budget. So if revenue is cut – particularly by a quarter of the amount of the general-fund budget, as proposed by GOP gubernatorial hopeful Raul Labrador – spending also would have to be cut by the same amount, unless other revenue sources are tapped to make up the difference.
It’s a zero-sum game – the state of Idaho can’t do deficit spending, so it can spend no more than the amount it collects in tax revenue.