Workforce training during 2024 legislative session

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Boise, Idaho – The Idaho Legislature adjourned “sine die” today, and Governor Brad Little thanked his legislative partners from across the political spectrum for their support of 99% of his IDAHO WORKS plan.

Notably, the Legislature passed Governor Little’s school facilities and tax relief bill while fully funding LAUNCH to help graduating high school seniors stay in Idaho to fill “real world” jobs in high demand.

“Once again, we finished a legislative session marked by milestone achievements that will greatly improve the lives of Idahoans for generations to come. Idaho is one of the fastest-growing states in the nation, with one of the strongest economies anywhere. This session, we took what we know has contributed to our state’s tremendous success and not just prioritized its continuation but ramped up our efforts. We responsibly invested in school facilities, workforce, roads, bridges, water, and other infrastructure while delivering even more tax relief for our state’s hardworking families and businesses. Our state budget is structurally sound and we are more than ready for anything that comes our way. What Idaho is doing is WORKING! Thank you to my partners in the Idaho Legislature for focusing on the big things and working so hard for the people of Idaho,” Governor Little said.

Highlights from the 2024 legislative session include:

IDAHO WORKS for Education:

Governor Little and the Legislature championed House Bill 521, making the largest-ever state investment in school facilities. The bill increases funding by a net of $1.5 billion over the next 10 years to ensure all districts have the resources to address unmet capital construction needs and improve student achievement.

Governor Little and the Legislature fully funded Idaho LAUNCH to ensure the new workforce training grants are awarded to up to 10,000 Idaho graduates. Grants may be used at any Idaho college, career technical program, or workforce training provider of their choice for an in-demand career. Demand for Idaho LAUNCH has shattered expectations, with more than 13,500 applications submitted or started through just March. LAUNCH catapults Idaho as one of the most forward-thinking states in the nation for workforce development and postsecondary education.

Governor Little and the Legislature strengthened charter schools and enhanced school choice options by eliminating red tape, allowing fast-track replication of high-performing schools, and providing $302,000 to enroll those schools in need of performance enhancement in appropriate support services with the State Department of Education.

IDAHO WORKS for Taxpayers:

Governor Little and the Legislature have returned $3.7 billion to Idahoans’ pockets over the past five years, with relief on income taxes, property taxes, and an expanded grocery tax credit – providing more tax relief per capita than any other state. In addition, Idahoans will get back an additional $60 million in ongoing income tax relief by lowering the individual and corporate income tax from 5.8% to 5.695%.

With the surplus eliminator passed last session, Governor Little’s IDAHO WORKS budget includes up to $150 million in new property tax relief on top of the hundreds of millions in property tax relief we’ve already deployed to date. An additional $200 million of state funding for ongoing property tax relief will be directed to local school districts to defray the costs of unmet capital construction needs with the passage of House Bill 521, the school facilities bill.

IDAHO WORKS for Transportation:

Governor Little and the Legislature passed another $200 million to fund the final tranche of an effort to improve local bridges, most of which predate the moon landing. Idaho has more than 900 bridges that are more than 50 years old, with estimated costs of $600 million to repair or replace. Governor Little and the Legislature have previously allocated $400 million to this effort, and construction is underway on dozens of bridges statewide.

Governor Little and the Legislature approved another $302.8 million in ongoing transportation funding to cover the state’s known deferred maintenance and safety gaps. These funds will support state and local projects and make Idaho roads safer for drivers with capacity enhancements and safety features like turn lanes, traffic signals, and widened roadways. $182 million (60%) will go to the Idaho Transportation Department for state roads and $121 million (40%) will go to local highway districts, counties, and cities for local roads.

IDAHO WORKS for Water and Outdoor Recreation:

Since 2019, Governor Little and the Legislature provided more than $1 billion to improve the quantity and quality of water throughout the state and expand outdoor recreation opportunities. Governor Little and the Legislature put another $30 million to ensure a stable water supply and $20 million in additional funding for the state to responsibly manage and expand access to Idaho’s great outdoors. They secured another $6.6 million to continue the fight against invasive quagga mussels.

IDAHO WORKS for Public Safety:

Governor Little and the Idaho Legislature funded the third mission to the U.S.- Mexico border (the second mission to the State of Texas) with $200,000 to the Idaho State Police. The mission will focus on mitigating human trafficking and bringing back training on its prevention and identification in Idaho.

IDAHO WORKS for Fiscal Conservatism:

The state budget prepares Idaho for economic uncertainty by maintaining a structurally balanced budget over a five-year horizon using a fiscal stress test that accounts for the probability of a recession. The budget leaves a surplus in excess of $180 million in both budgeted years to provide greater cushion against economic uncertainty. In addition, Governor Little proposed and the Legislature passed one of the most fiscally conservative budgets in years, with just 1.7% growth in General Fund spending over FY24 levels.

The full rundown of IDAHO WORKS budget highlights can be found here: