On July 22, the Idaho secretary of state announced that an initiative that would increase income tax and corporate tax rates to provide additional education funding had submitted the required number of signatures for the November ballot.
Reclaim Idaho, the campaign behind the initiative, filed 95,269 signatures on May 2. In Idaho, the number of signatures required to qualify an initiated state statute for the ballot is 64,945, which is equal to 6% of the registered voters at the time of the state’s last general election. Idaho also has a distribution requirement that requires signatures from 6% of registered voters in 18 of the state’s 35 legislative districts. The secretary of state reported that Reclaim Idaho’s petition met the requirements in at least 19 legislative districts.
The initiative would amend state statute to increase the tax on income above $250,000 for individuals, trusts, and estates and above $500,000 for couples filing jointly to $16,097 plus 10.925%. The tax bracket would not be adjusted for inflation until 2025. The initiative would also increase the corporate income tax from 6% to 8%. The new tax brackets and tax rates would take effect on January 1, 2023.
The initiative would also establish the Quality Education Fund. Revenues from the increased taxes would be deposited into the fund. The initiative states that the funds should be appropriated by the state board of education. It would prohibit funds from being appropriated to pay the salaries of superintendents, principals, or other administrators. The initiative requires that the funds be distributed to public school districts and charter schools according to their share of the state’s average daily attendance during the previous school year.
Reclaim Idaho said, “Idaho voters will now have a chance to boost K-12 funding by $323 million a year in order to strengthen programs & secure better pay for teachers & support staff–all without a penny of new taxes for anyone making under $250,000 a year or any married couple making under $500,000 a year. Vote Yes on Prop 1!”
Reclaim Idaho previously sponsored an approved 2018 ballot initiative, Proposition 2, which expanded Medicaid eligibility.
The initiative is opposed by State Sen. Steven Thayn (R), who said the initiative is “based on a false assumption that money will improve education.”
Idaho voters will also be deciding on a constitutional amendment put on the ballot by the state legislature that would allow the president pro tempore of the state Senate and the speaker of the state House to convene a special session of the state legislature upon receiving a joint written request from 60% of the members of each chamber. Idaho is one of 14 states where only the governor can order a special session.
In Idaho, a total of 65 ballot measures appeared on statewide ballots between 1985 and 2020. Forty-eight (73.84%) ballot measures were approved, and 17 (26.15%) ballot measures were defeated.