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Governor Little focuses on education, taxes in state of the state address in Boise

Updated: Jul 21, 2023

Governor Brad Little welcomed members of the Idaho State Legislature today with his state of the state address, pressing a theme of "Idaho First" in his remarks.

The governor spent a large chunk of remarks on education funding as well as tax reductions and fiscal responsibility.

On education funding, Governor Little wants to increase teacher pay, increase salaries for classified school staff, increase the state coverage of teacher health insurance benefits and increase school funding. In total, those four ideas would represent more than $300 million in spending.

The governor also said he favored making permanent the popular Empowering Parents program. This form of school choice has been helpful to parents seeking to get their children extra help they need outside the classroom.

Other highlights of the governor's address include:

  • $120 million for ongoing property tax mitigation

  • $62 million to the state's rainy day fund

  • $200 million+ surplus and a balanced budget for the next five year

  • $80 million to provide $8,500 for qualifying high school graduates to use at any Idaho university, community college, career technical program, or workforce training provider of their choice

It is especially encouraging to hear the governor's comments on the Empowering Parents program. It has been an enormous success, but state lawmakers would be wise to not only make it permanent, but also expand eligibility and the options for parents inside the program. Our children deserve nothing less.

Today, we launched Education Choice Improves Outcomes. Mountain States Policy Center will release a comprehensive study on education choice and the options available for lawmakers this Thursday.

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