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Eye On Boise

Otter: State is ‘prosperous,’ tax cuts proposed

Gov. Butch Otter gives his
Gov. Butch Otter gives his "State of the State" message to a joint session of the Legislature on Monday, Jan. 8, 2018 (Betsy Z. Russell)

“The state of Idaho is prosperous, positive, and poised for even better times ahead,” Gov. Butch Otter told a joint session of the Legislature today as he began his 12th and final State of the State message and released his budget for the coming year, which includes proposed tax cuts. “Our population is growing fast. Our citizens are striving for a future with more opportunities and even brighter prospects. And our state government is leaner, more fiscally responsible, more transparent, more responsive, and better prepared than ever to help Idahoans achieve their own best potential.”

“It is my firm belief that over the past 11 years of overcoming natural disasters and man-made challenges, stubborn political divisions and devastating economic recession, together we have constructed a stronger, more durable foundation on which we and the people of Idaho can build,” Otter said, to applause.

As Otter opens his address, his budget for the coming year is being released. It calls for spending $3.687 billion in general fund spending next year, a 6.62 percent increase from this year. But within that figure is nearly $200 million in tax relief.

Otter’s budget calls for conforming Idaho’s state income tax code to federal-level changes, which grows state revenues by $97.4 million. But at the same time, he’s proposing nearly $200 million in tax cuts – a cut in all the state’s income tax rates of 0.45 percentage points, which would drop the top rate from 7.4 percent to 6.95 percent; and an $85 non-refundable Idaho dependent credit from state income taxes. Between those tax cuts and the increased revenue from conformity, the net result is a reduction in revenue to the state of $94.7 million.

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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