By ROBERT S. MERRILL
The Idaho Legislature recently adjourned and area Legislator Marc Gibbs said three “going home” bills known as 35-35-35 were passed in the last two days after a number of discussions and compromises.
The first dealt with tax cuts on personal and corporate income taxes. “HB563 lowers the individual income tax from 7.8 to 7.4 percent, and also lowered the corporate income tax from 7.6 to 7.4 percent allowing for a $35.7 million tax break for Idahoans,” said Gibbs.
“Of this overall amount, $30.9 million would be a reduction in the personal income tax rate and $4.8 million for corporations.”
Gibbs said the second was the salary-base apportionment bill which will increase the base pay for teachers.
“This bill also increases the starting salary for beginning teachers in an effort to encourage people to choose teaching as a career,” he said.
“The third piece of the puzzle was a transfer made into state savings accounts, with $2 million being moved into the disaster emergency fund, and $21.5 million being moved into the education stabilization fund.
“The last transfer that was made was into the budget stabilization fund in the amount of $23 million. All of these fund transfers can be seen in HB702.
“With this transfer into the education stabilization fund, there will be a balance of just over $36.9 million,” Gibbs said.
He also said there were a number of successes in this legislative session, as legislators were able to increase funding for education.
“There was also an increase in the change in employee compensation for state employees this year in the amount of two percent across the board. This is after state employees have not received a pay increase in the last four years due to downturn in the economy.”
The area legislator said another highlight was passing a bill aimed at protecting Idaho’s high school athletes from concussions. The measure requires schools to develop rules to protect their athletes from punishing hits to the head that could have long-term adverse impacts.
Gibbs said there were two major disappointments during the session.
“We were not able to create a state-run health insurance exchange. And we did not streamline the sales tax laws which would have allowed Idaho to collect sales tax on internet sales. By not doing so, we will forego collection of an estimated $30 million that could have been added to our tax revenue stream.”
Gibbs said there will also be some drastic changes in the Idaho Legislature for the upcoming 2013 legislative session, as there are at a minimum of 26 seat changes in the House of Representatives alone.
“This is due to a number of legislators retiring with the redistricting changes that have occurred this year, and nine other Representatives who are running for open seats in the Senate that have been created by retirements.
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