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Joint Finance Appropriations Committee to begin work on official budget

Idaho State Capitol
Posted at 6:37 AM, Jan 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-11 09:08:09-05

BOISE, Idaho — Tuesday marks day two of the 2022 legislative session, and Tuesday morning's focus will be budget hearings.

As Idaho News 6 reported, Gov. Brad Little announced a new plan called "Leading Idaho" during his State of the State address Monday. The new plan details plans for Idaho's currently $1.9 billion budget surplus.

Little said the new plan is created to "give back our record budget surplus to Idahoans" via tax relief and investments.

He also outline his plans to invest in some key priorities, including recommendations like education funding, income tax rebates, and deferred maintenance of roads and bridges.

Tuesday, legislators on the Joint Finance Appropriations Committee (JFAC) will begin working on the official budget for fiscal year 2023, which starts this summer.

Democratic Senator and JFAC member Janie Ward-Engelking says Democrats have two main priorities they're working to include in the final budget: education and property tax relief.

Democrats and Governor Little agree on a raise in teacher pay, bonuses, increasing funding for public schools and all-day kindergarten.

“Our teachers are pretty near a breaking point right now. This has been a hard lift—a heavy lift for them the last three years with trying to do virtual, and hybrid and in-person learning and we need to give them a bonus, like we’ve done some of the other essential workers. Because I can guarantee you, they’re essential," said Senator Ward-Engelking.

Governor Little mentioned income tax relief during his speech Monday, but did not mention new property tax relief.

Although some details may vary, both Governor Little and Senator Ward-Engelking both say transportation investments and behavioral health are priorities this session.