An in-depth analysis of Idaho's Quality Education Act ballot measure
This November, voters in the Gem State will be casting ballots on a measure that dramatically increases the state’s top income tax rate from 6.0% to 10.9% and increases K-12 public school funding. The “Quality Education Act,” on the ballot as Proposition 1, would nearly double the top income tax rate (for those making more than $250,000 per year), while likely, inadvertently, raising other income tax brackets. The ballot measure comes as at least 10 other states have reduced or flattened their personal income taxes in 2022, and many more did so in 2021.
Backers of the initiative say the change will result in a tax hike of at least $323 million. But the language contained in the measure likely reverses income tax cuts made by the last Idaho legislature, meaning broad based income tax increases that could push the total hike to more than $500 million. Supporters of the initiative claim the money would be used for additional K-12 education funding in the state of Idaho. The price tag of the tax hike would equal $1,066 per student, per year. For a classroom of 25, the increase amounts to just under $27,000 in additional funds per year.
Initiative would increase Idaho’s top income tax rate to among the highest in the country – but it would kick-in at a much lower income threshold.
Action of legislature in September 2022 special session could negate action by voters on Quality Education Act.
Measure proposes hiking education spending in Idaho by at least $323 million, or $1,066 per student and $26,658 per classroom of 25.
Including an increase in a September special session, the Idaho legislature has already raised education funding in the state by 93% since 2016.
Future increases in education funding should go toward school choice options for families.