Governor Little Applauds Productive Legislative Session
The Idaho Legislature adjourned “sine die” today, and Governor Brad Little thanked his legislative partners for working with him to advance his “Idaho First” plan this session.
The Idaho Legislature approved 99-percent of the Governor’s “Idaho First” plan for tax relief and education and infrastructure investments.
“Working together, we achieved major investments in teacher pay, workforce training, roads, water, and other critical infrastructure to improve the lives of the people we serve, in addition to passing simple enduring property tax relief. I am grateful my legislative partners prioritized my ‘Idaho First’ plan to keep Idaho strong and prosperous for many years to come,” Governor Little said.
The Governor and Legislature’s major “Idaho First” achievements this session include:
Launch – The Governor recommended and the Legislature approved the expansion of the successful Idaho Launch program, providing $8,000 grants for qualifying high school graduates to use at any community college, career technical program, or workforce training provider of their choice starting in 2024.
Teacher pay and education investments – The Governor recommended and the Legislature approved raising starting teacher pay to $47,477, targeting Idaho for a top 10 spot nationally, up from 41st when Governor Little took office. The plan also strengthened pay for all teachers, including our most experienced educators, as well as school staff. The Governor and Legislature fulfilled a historic commitment to public schools – a 16.4% increase in state funding. Other education achievements include improving teacher health insurance benefits, improvements to school facility security, and more discretionary funding to defray reliance on local property taxes.
School choice – The Governor recommended and the Legislature approved making permanent the popular Empowering Parents grant program to help families take charge of education expenses for their children outside the classroom. The Governor and Legislature strengthened Idaho’s already abundant landscape of school choice options by expanding parents’ ability to choose the best public school for their child, regardless of their zip code. Governor Little maintains his commitment to a responsible, transparent, and accountable approach to expanding school choice in Idaho.
Simple property tax relief – The Governor recommended an additional $120 million of state funding in FY 2024 for ongoing tax relief to be directed to local government property tax mitigation, and the Legislature passed $117 million in ongoing property tax relief and $20 million in one-time relief for FY 2024. In the past three years, Idaho has turned back more taxpayer money through tax relief than any other state per capita.
Transportation, water, and infrastructure – In recent years, Governor Little and the Legislature have championed investments in critical infrastructure without raising taxes or fees. The Governor and Legislature this session fully funded the known ongoing transportation safety gap, making Idaho roads safer. They funded the second tranche of an effort to improve local bridges. They leveraged federal funds to increase broadband capacity in Idaho and made investments to expand water projects to ensure a stable water supply and safe local drinking water and wastewater systems for this generation and the next. Outdoor recreation opportunities will be improved with added investments in state parks.
Public safety – The Governor and Legislature renewed their commitment to safe communities by increasing pay for law enforcement officers, beefing up resources to fight fentanyl, and improving behavioral health resources for Idahoans in need.
A full summary of achievements from the Governor’s “Idaho First” plan this session is available at: https://gov.idaho.gov/wp-content/uploads/2023/04/fy24-budget-activity-summary.pd...