Secretary of State approves Reclaim Idaho's "Invest in Idaho" ballot initiative

Posted at 10:09 PM, Oct 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-31 00:09:16-04

BOISE, Idaho — The Secretary of State certified an initiative by Reclaim Idaho which is designed to raise education funds by taxing Idaho’s richest families and corporations.

The initiative is called “Invest in Idaho,” and its purpose would be to raise around $200-million annually for K-12 public education; and the people footing the bill would be the top five-percent of Idaho taxpayers.

“The goal is to pay our talented teachers competitive salaries so they stop fleeing across the borders; we want to strengthen career technical education,” said Jeremy Gugino, Spokesperson for Reclaim Idaho.

Gugino said they’re also hoping to take pressure off of property taxpayers who help fund school levies, and the way they plan to do that is by taxing Idaho’s richest individuals and corporations.

“A couple making $530,000 a year, they would see an increase of $300,” said Gugino.

If passed, individuals who make more than a quarter million dollars a year and couples who make more than half a million dollars a year would be taxed.

As for corporations, Gugino said, “It’s basically a penny increase on the dollar and this would return the corporate rate back to what it was as recently as 2000.”

Not everyone is on board though. The Idaho Freedom Foundation argues Idaho’s richest individuals and corporations already contribute heavily to Idaho’s tax base.

“These are people who are job creators, they are people who have built businesses, who employ tons and dozens of people,” said Dustin Hurst, Communication Director for the Idaho Freedom Foundation.

And while the Idaho Freedom Foundation acknowledges a need for paying Idaho’s teachers an adequate wage, they believe state leaders have things under control.

“The legislature’s already on track to examine teacher pay to make sure that, you know, effective teachers are well paid,” said Hurst.

Regardless, the initiative is now certified by the Secretary of State, and Reclaim Idaho is now working to gather signatures in order to place the invest in Idaho initiative on the ballot.

Reclaim Idaho will need to secure signatures from 6 percent of registered voters in 18 of Idaho’s legislative districts. Their deadline for signatures is April 30, 2020.