Mike Ferguson

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

School districts across Idaho will be asking voters to approve supplemental levies Tuesday. That includes Meridian, Nampa, and Kuna. Districts going to voters for more money has become commonplace in recent years.

A little more than a decade ago, about a third of Idaho schools had levies in place. Now it’s two thirds, according to Mike Ferguson, head of the non-profit research group Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy. In that time, the money coming from levies has tripled to about $190 million. 

House Speaker Scott Bedke says he's met with Idaho's former chief economist over a proposal to shift $80 million from a grocery tax credit to individual and corporate income tax cuts.

Bedke, a Republican from Oakley, met with Mike Ferguson, the top economist at the state under six governors before retiring four years ago.

Bedke's proposes to redirect money now given to Idaho families to offset sales tax they pay on groceries to income tax cuts, in hopes of making Idaho a more-attractive place for businesses to relocate.

taxes, calculator
Dave Dugdale / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho's former chief economist says families of four earning more than $117,750 would see lower taxes, should lawmakers adopt House Speaker Scott Bedke's proposal to shift money from a grocery tax credit to individual and corporate income tax cuts.

Mike Ferguson, chief economist for six governors including Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter, said Thursday families earning less would likely see a higher tax burden, according to his calculations.

Idaho has the largest percentage of minimum wage jobs in the country. That’s been the jumping off point for StateImpact Idaho’s series examining wages; we’re calling it Bottom Rung.

Classroom
Malate269 / Wikimedia Commons

First came the preliminaries: welcomes, thanks, a nod to Abraham Lincoln for creating the Idaho Territory 150 years ago this year.  But then it was time for the money. Governor Butch Otter’s first announcement in his State of the State address Monday was a proposal to raise state spending as a whole by 3.1 percent. That’s based on an estimated 5.3 percent increase in revenue. 

Stack of Books
Albertogp123 / Flickr

A report released today by the Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy questions whether the state is meeting its constitutional duty to "maintain a general, uniform and thorough system of public, free common schools."

The report is authored by the center's director Mike Ferguson, who was also Idaho's chief economist for 25 years.