Robust Tax Collections Could Bode Well For K-12 Budget

Oct 4, 2016

Credit Idaho Ed News

If the 2017 Legislature wants to add another $100 million or so to the K-12 budget, it looks like the money will be there.

On Tuesday morning, legislative budget-writers started looking over some of the numbers that will define the session that will begin in early January. And while their counterparts in other states are facing the prospect of spending cuts, Idaho lawmakers could have ample tax revenues on hand.

“Idaho is a little bit of an island right now,” Cathy Holland-Smith, division manager of the Legislative Services Office, told the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee.

JFAC, the Legislature’s powerful budget-writing committee, is meeting in Boise this week for three days of tours and presentations. Lawmakers started their work by hearing an overview about where the state stands, early in the 2016-17 budget year.

The state only has two months of numbers — from July and August, the first two months of the budget year. But tax collections are ahead of projections, and the state also has more carryover money than lawmakers forecast in March, at the end of the 2016 session.

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