July 26, 2022
Huge Tax Increase for Education Funding?
By: Branden Durst (Senior Public Policy Fellow, Idaho Family Policy Center)
At a time when a gallon of gas exceeds $5, a gallon of milk is over $3 and a dozen eggs is nearly $2, leftists want to take more money from hardworking Idahoans.
Their new plan? Putting a statewide initiative on the November ballot that would greatly increase state tax rates for almost everyone—with the stated goal of boosting education funding.
The initiative is spearheaded by the progressive activist group Reclaim Idaho, which was also responsible for the disastrous Idaho Medicaid expansion in 2018. If voters approve the education ballot initiative at the polls this fall, it would constitute the largest state income tax increase in decades.
Raising taxes in the middle of an economic period of hyperinflation is a not only bad economic policy, but it’s bad education policy, too. In short, it is a recipe for disaster.
First, supporters of the initiative make the argument that increased education funding will result in improved quality. If that were true, then public schools in Washington, DC—where per pupil funding is in excess of $32,000—would be the best in the nation.
Obviously, the data doesn’t bear that out. As Sen. Steven Thayn (R-Emmett) recently observed, more funding doesn’t necessarily improve educational outcomes.
Second, the initiative would put a greater strain on Idaho families who choose to homeschool or send their kids to private school. They don’t need more of their hard-earned money confiscated and redistributed to failing government schools.
Third, the initiative targets Idaho families and businesses at a time when economic uncertainty is rapidly rising. Increasing corporate and individual tax rates to levels well above Idaho’s border states puts our local businesses and state economy at a competitive disadvantage.
To summarize, when leftists like Reclaim Idaho increase taxes on small business owners and families, it means reduced donations to charities, fewer sponsorships of things like local Little League teams and PTAs, less money for homeschooling and private Christian schools, and more unemployment.
That dog is not going to hunt. It’s clear as day that the proposed initiative fails on multiple fronts—it’s bad for Idaho families, it’s bad for Idaho businesses, and it’s bad for Idaho.
Branden Durst, MPA, EdS, is a Christian, husband and father to five. As former member of both the Idaho House and Idaho Senate, Branden brings a wealth of knowledge and experience of the legislative process in Idaho. He is also a public policy expert, with specialties in education and social issue policies.