BOISE, Idaho — Gov. Brad Little signed the major tax cut and education spending bill into law after a speedy single-day special session.
Lawmakers spent all day at the Statehouse for an Extraordinary Session to address the impact of inflation on Idahoans. The legislature tired to quickly move one piece of legislation through both the House and the Senate but was met with challenges.
The House and Senate gaveled in around 8 a.m. Thursday morning, quickly getting to work to try and pass one 14-page bill aimed at combating inflation through rebates, reworking the income tax brackets, plus a historic investment in education.
Almost immediately after kicking off the special session, lawmakers headed straight to the House Tax and Revenue Committee where the bill was introduced.
“Why a special session? From my point of view, we have a boatload of money that needs to be dealt with appropriately,” said Rep. Steven Harris R-Meridian.
The bill, introduced by Harris, gives one-time tax rebates of $500 million dollars. The rebate is greater of 10% of tax amounts paid in 2020 or $600 per joint filer or $300 for individual filers. It also consolidates the income tax brackets to a flat 5.8% for both individuals and corporations and provides $410 million in annual education funding from the state's sales tax.
The House and Senate held a joint committee hearing early in the day where lawmakers heard an hour’s worth of public testimony.
"If approved by you, this education funding will show every educator in our state that what we do is valued and that you share our value in providing a free and equal public education to all students,” teacher Bri Gibson said.
The bill was sent to the full house with a do-pass recommendation, but was met with speed bumps as lawmakers tried to pass motions to change the bill.
Rep. Heather Scott made a motion to suspend the rules and split HB 1 into separate votes but failed. Shortly after, Rep. Tammy Nichols also attempted to make a motion but failed. Within the two hours on the floor, lawmakers still made their opposition clear and said they believe the process of crafting this bill is broken.
“A properly running legislature should consider all options,” said Rep. Ron Nate (R) Rexburg. "There are other ways to tackle this problem besides the one option we’ve been presented here."
Other lawmakers said they don't love every aspect of the bill, but they do support it.
“Idaho values education, we value our children, and its time for us in this body to honor that and do better by our schools,” Rep. Lauren Necochea (D)-Boise said.
Following the two-hour debate, HB1 passed the full house with 55 in favor and 14 against.
Then, lawmakers attempted to move the legislation quickly once again. The bill swiftly moved through the Senate Tax and Revenue committee and then was sent to the Senate floor with a do-pass recommendation.
As of now, lawmakers in the senate are still debating the bill. Idaho News 6 will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.