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Senate OKs increase in Idaho rainy-day funds

Posted at 5:41 PM, Mar 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-03 19:41:21-05

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The amount of money in Idaho’s rainy-day fund that serves as a cushion against a potential economic downturn would increase under legislation that headed to the governor’s desk on Tuesday.

The Senate voted 31-4 to approve the legislation that is in line with Republican Gov. Brad Little’s recommendation.

It would increase the Budget Stabilization Fund from 10% to 15% of general fund revenues.

State officials said the change plus deposits would get the fund to more than $600 million by next year.

Backers said the extra money will shield the state from a recession.

“The best time to save for a future downturn is when the economy is great,” said Republican Rep. Scott Grow

Opponents said the money could instead be used for education and other pressing matters long neglected.

“Property tax (relief), fixing roads, proper sanitation,” said Democratic Sen. Michelle Stennett. “All the things that should be addressed with that money.”

The legislation passed the House 64-2 last month.