Legislative Update: Tax And Spending Bills Decisions Loom
Monday, March 12 2012
The legislative session is winding down. On Feb. 21, the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee started working on all agency and department budgets. The Department of Commerce and Department of Health and Welfare were finalized on Friday, rounding out JFAC’s work.
All budgets are awaiting the approval of both the Senate and House of Representatives, which could take the next two weeks to finish, according to Joe Stegner, special assistant to the president for state governmental relations. Most committees will stop meeting in the next week as no more bills can be introduced for this legislative session.
The biggest bill and what is considered the “Going Home Bill” is a tax cut for citizens. The House Tax and Revenue Committee passed a $35 million dollar tax cut for Idaho residents. The Senate will now take up the issue to decide if there will be tax cuts at all this session.
Based on what the Senate and House agree on, there could be some money left over to put in the state savings accounts. Those accounts include; the General Budget Stabilization Fund (also known as the Rainy Day Fund), the Public Education Stabilization Fund, and the Higher Education Stabilization Fund.
Finding a solution could take the next several weeks, but discussions are underway in both houses. There is optimism that the end of this legislative session might be over as early as March 23.
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