Our super-majority Republican state legislators are at it again with their usual shenanigans proposing bills that favor the wealthy and keep low-income earners receiving fewer benefits.
House Bill 332 amends existing law to revise provisions regarding income tax rates and the Tax Relief Fund to provide a onetime income tax rebate. According to an analysis by the Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy, a nonprofit, nonpartisan source for data and analysis, the average top one-percenter would receive $8,863 while the average low-income Idahoan would receive just $78.
The bill will put Idaho at risk of losing nearly $400 million in federal funds used for important maintenance and upgrades of roads, water projects, broadband and many other significant infrastructure projects to improve conditions necessary for vitality and healthy communities. Investments made for infrastructure are critical to improve resilience to climate change, as well as improve the health, safety and quality of life for Idahoans throughout urban and rural communities.
The lost revenue from federal funds is due to the federal American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, the $1.9 trillion stimulus plan recently passed to help communities across America recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a major economic stimulus plan, which provides money to states, but each dollar cut from state taxes means a dollar lost in federal tax provided to states.
Investing our own dollars back into our own state for infrastructure improvements and childhood education is sound policy, not cutting taxes for the wealthy. If we invest our own dollars we get rewarded, not penalized, and will receive additional monies from the Rescue Plan.
Idaho is second to last out of 50 states in K-12 education funding per student, shame on us! Continuing to vote against funding early childhood education continues to lock us into last place by giving away funds that could be invested in our kids!