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A view of the Idaho Capitol rotunda

Ultimate Guide on the Economy for Idaho's 2012 Legislative Session

Background

Kevin Rank / Flickr

Idaho State Capitol building in Boise

On January 9th, Idaho’s Legislature will convene in Boise for its annual session.  StateImpact Idaho will be focusing our coverage on how proposals and policy decisions impact Idahoans and the area economy.  We’ve been interviewing leading lawmakers in the run-up to session and have compiled various resources to help you get involved or stay informed.

The Basics

What Lawmakers are Saying

These posts are a series of Q & A’s we did during the weeks leading up to the 2012 Legislative session.  Each conversation focused around job creation, tax policy and the state budget.

The Issues We’re Following

Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter’s View

We interviewed Governor Otter in December 2011, a few weeks in advance of the 2012 session.  We asked him about some of the major issues we’ll be following and posted a series of videos and Q & A’s.  Here are all of those segments in one place:

Lobbyists Influencing Decision Makers

The list of lobbyists and the organizations they represent shift from year to year.  Lobbyists are required to register with the Secretary of State before each session (and pay a $10 registration fee).  Lobbyists are also required to submit monthly reports detailing how much money they’ve spent on things like food, entertainment and travel for lawmakers and advertizing for their cause.

Latest Posts

Tax Cut For Top Earners Is Official

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter gave his address from the floor of the Idaho Senate.

Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter sent out this tweet earlier today: He’s signed House Bill 563, which lowers the top corporate and individual income tax rates from 7.6 and 7.8 percent respectively, to 7.4 percent. The Associated Press has reported a family of four in the top tax bracket, with a gross income of $100,000, will [...]

Session Wrap: Democrat’s ‘IJOBS’ Fails, Again

Gov. Otter's insurance exchange working group met at the Capitol today.

Democrats in the Idaho Legislature again offered a slate of bills they said would boost economic growth and add jobs to the economy. They dubbed it ‘IJOBS’, and it’s not the first time they’ve attempted to get similar measures through.  Democrats introduced the first round of IJOBS bills back in 2010.  They all failed. This year, [...]

Session Wrap: Lawmakers Expand Tax Exemptions

Until now, Idaho's 6 percent sales tax applied to free samples of beer, wine and other beverages.

Free samples of beer and wine are now tax-free.  So are parts for some airplanes that are worked on in Idaho. Lawmakers expanded and added new tax exemptions during the 2012 session, adding to a growing list (exemptions start on page 41). Lets start with the new. Through House Bill 417, airplane parts installed into [...]

Lawmakers Approve 342 Bills

Gov. Otter's insurance exchange working group met at the Capitol today.

The Idaho Legislature put its stamp of approval on 342 bills this year, more than half of the measures introduced, according to legislative services. As of today, Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter has signed a fraction of them, 182.  The session ended last Thursday. That means Otter has ten days to sign or veto bills he received [...]

Session Wrap: Key Medicaid Services Reinstated

Medicaid recipients and advocates turned out to testify at a February hearing.

A bill that cut nearly $100 million in combined state and federal Medicaid spending was a flashpoint of last year’s legislative session.  This year, the question was whether the Legislature would reinstate any of that funding and, if so, how much. Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter kept mum about state health and welfare spending in his [...]

Session Wrap: The Tax Plans That Failed

Inside the Idaho State Capitol dome.

The Legislature’s main duty is to create a  budget that spends less than it takes in.  Lawmakers did. They also agreed to a more than $35 million tax cut for Idaho’s top earners. They’re setting aside about $35 million for the state’s general fund reserves, and they agreed to an almost $35 million pay increase [...]

Idaho’s Top Earners Will Get A Tax Break

The tax cut goes into effect as soon as the bill is signed.

Idaho corporations and top individual taxpayers will pay less to the state next year. A plan to lower the top tax rates passed the Senate this afternoon.  It’s final stop will be a signature by Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter. As soon as Otter signs the bill, which he is expected to, the new tax rates [...]

Idaho’s Among The Worst States When It Comes To Government Transparency

The State Integrity Investigation gives Idaho a D-.

The latest government transparency report gives Idaho a near failing grade, ranking the Gem State among the ten worst states for transparency in the country. The State Integrity Investigation gives Idaho an overall grade of D-.  The report looks at 14 categories, six of which the state failed.  The worst grades went to categories like [...]

Update: “F” Is For “Flunk,” But Also For “Funding”

A spokesman for the state controllers office says creating a transparency website is a priority, but so far there's no funding.

Yesterday, StateImpact published a story about Idaho’s last-place finish in a government transparency study.  In it we noted that Idaho was one of only three states that didn’t respond when the study’s initial findings were sent to government officials, requesting comment.  It was the Department of Administration’s Bill Burns who received that survey.  He wasn’t [...]

“F” Is For “Flunk”: Idaho Falls Short In Transparency Study

To view the study, click on the map above.

Idaho earned last place and an “F” ranking in an analysis of government transparency released today.  The U.S. Public Interest Research Group study focuses on how easily the public can get information about government spending. “The main thing is that Idaho is one of the four states that does not have checkbook-level expenditure information,” Tax [...]

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