If you want to be successful, it’s just this simple. Know what you are doing. Love what you are doing. And believe in what you are doing.

Will Rogers

Tax Legislation

A lot of you are wanting to see some tax relief, and this is a year to make some changes. The Senate and the House have passed an income tax relief bill, that includes a one-time rebate amounting to a minimum of $75 per taxpayer or 1% of the tax you paid last year…whichever is greatest. This will result in $350,000,000 going back to the taxpayers. Then, the bill provides an ongoing tax cut of $250,000,000. The bill, HB 436, is the largest tax cut in Idaho State history.

School Teacher Insurance 

A lot of our rural school districts struggle with costs, one of which is health care for their teachers. The State helps with some of the funding, but not enough to cover the cost. So, these moneys had to be levied for at the local level. This week, the legislature passed a bill that will add $4,000 to each teacher’s insurance. This brings them up to $12,500 from the state, which is the same as other state employees. Now, they can be part of the state insurance pool, if the district so chooses. Or they can go to another market.

This should help small rural Idaho school. Probably not so big a deal for Idaho’s urban schools.

But the key factor, this bill is able to provide some much-desired property tax relief by reducing the need for those bonds and levies.

Grocery Tax

Some of you got emails from an online lobbying group about how the Senate voted on the grocery tax….it didn’t happen. One of the lobbyist organizations, who sends you emails and donation requests, pulled a shenanigan than made it look like the Senate killed a grocery tax repeal.

The Senate did NOT vote on a grocery tax bill…there wasn’t one!

Local Spotlight

Idaho County Commissioner Skip Brandt was honored for excellence in county government. Idaho County Clerk Kathy Ackerman won the highest honor that the Idaho Association of Counties gives.

We are really lucky to have effective leadership in Idaho County that is recognized statewide.

I got to host some of Idaho County’s best and brightest for lunch last week in Boise! Elizabeth and Jesse Hicks, along with several parents, brought students who are studying Constitutional Government, based around the Hillsdale Curriculum. I organized a tour of the Capitol and introduced these young people to my colleagues in the Senate.

It was great fun to meet them and answer their thoughtful questions!

I also met with Clete Edmunson, Superintendent in Council, over the weekend at a legislative forum. Council is part of the new District 7, so it was important to get acquainted! Council schools are the very top in the state for student performance.

Leadership matters! Good work to Clete, all your parents, and staff!