Idaho’s House leadership wants to shower itself in the glory of a tax cut for the rich. In the meantime, the sober responsibility of funding our schools will be pushed onto individual school districts.
Here’s how it works. Speaker Scott Bedke (R-Oakley) and Rep. Mike Moyle (R-Star) want to cut income taxes for the state’s top income earners. That will reduce revenues by $80 million.
Bedke and Moyle claim the tax rate is too high, that it dissuades businesses from coming to Idaho. Of course, this is absurd. Idaho has the one of the lowest tax burdens in the nation.
Instead, the tax cut is a political stunt, meant to verify the House leadership’s conservative bona fides. Meanwhile, the hard choices of funding schools will continue to fall on the backs of individual school districts, which disproportionally harm the poorest school districts.
93 of the state’s 115 school districts require supplemental levies to survive.
44 of the state’s 115 school districts are on a four-day week.
On Tuesday, March 11, Idaho voters approved $358.6 million in school levies.
HB 311 only furthers the state’s failure “to maintain a general, uniform and thorough system of public, free common schools,” as mandated by the Idaho Constitution.
But it does make for a great talking point for a GOP primary.
Bedke and Moyle know this. By passing on the responsibility to fund schools in favor of political expediency, they can secure their positions of power.
And the middle class gets to pay for it.