House Democrats are calling for investing in education and infrastructure, rather than the $202 million tax-cut proposal that GOP leaders and Gov. Butch Otter introduced yesterday.
“This tax cut is at best rushed, at worst, reckless,” said House Minority Leader Mat Erpelding, D-Boise. “I’ve grown tired of the majority party in the House preaching fiscal responsibility and personal responsibility while embracing tax policies that demonstrate neither.”
He said, “The 2018 conformity bill should hold every Idahoan harmless, but this bill goes way beyond that and will have a negative impact on the next generation of Idahoans. Governor Otter wants his legacy to be about education, but in fact, his legacy will be a footnote on how he set Idaho up to be the next Kansas.”
Kansas dramatically cut income taxes in 2012, in what Gov. Sam Brownback promoted as a “shot of adrenaline” to the state’s economy, but instead, revenues shrank, the state’s bond rating plummeted, and Kansas was forced to cut funding for education and infrastructure. Last year, the Republican-controlled Legislature voted to roll back the tax cuts, but the state still faces a huge budget gap over the next two years.
Erpelding called for investing in more teachers, a more affordable higher education system and a more highly skilled and qualified workforce. “We are deeply disappointed, but not surprised,” he said, “that not one member of the minority was consulted on how to craft legislation that would improve our income tax code, hold Idaho families harmless and maintain our investments in the future.”