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Idaho's projected budget surplus hits $416 million

The Idaho Capitol building at dawn
James Dawson
Boise State Public Radio

Idaho’s budget outlook remains rosy as the state nears the end of its fiscal year.

Tax revenue is still strong as Idaho continues to be one of the fastest growing states in the country, with a $416 million surplus estimated by the end of June.

That extra cash, plus the way lawmakers structured next year’s budget, means the state could take a 15 percent hit to its revenues without having to cut a dollar, according to Keith Bybee, the legislature’s budget director.

“You could withstand a pretty big shock to the system as far as recessionary forces driving tax collections [go],” Bybee told legislators Wednesday morning.

Idaho also has a significant amount of rainy day funds that could cover nearly one-third of the state’s general fund budget in a crisis.

That raised questions among Democratic leaders, who have historically pushed the legislature to spend the extra money on things like education, healthcare and social services.

But Senate Majority Leader Kelly Anthon (R-Burley) said it doesn’t take long to spend through your savings in an emergency.

“And then when it turns in a hurry, the things that matter most like education, roads and some of the basics that the state provides in services were cut and cut in painful ways,” Anthon said.

Idaho’s fiscal year closes June 30.

Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.

Copyright 2023 Boise State Public Radio

I cover politics and a bit of everything else for Boise State Public Radio. Outside of public meetings, you can find me fly fishing, making cool things out of leather or watching the Seattle Mariners' latest rebuilding season. If you have a tip, please get in touch!

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