Idaho Democrats said Tuesday that proposed cuts to public education, higher education and other state services will have a detrimental effect on attracting private business to the state during their rebuttal to Gov. Otter’s State of the State address.
“Attracting good jobs is about much, much more than tax breaks. It is about good schools, low cost energy, recreational and tourism opportunities and easy access online, on the roads and in the air,” said Sen. Kate Kelly, D-Boise, the minority leader. “We need to maintain and capitalize on Idaho as one of the most desirable places to live and work.”
Democratic legislators said they were not proposing tax increases, but wanted changes to make the state’s tax code fairer, including closing tax exemption loopholes and hiring additional tax collectors.
“The revenue stream is worse than it should be,” said Sen. Elliot Werk, D-Boise.
Werk said Democrats would unveil a “slate of specific legislation” in the next few weeks. Rep. Phylis King, D-Boise, cited a tax exemption on ski resort equipment as one of the many tax loopholes that should be looked into moving forward.
“We must avoid decisions that put people out of work. We propose that every cut in a state agency include an estimate of its effect on private sector jobs,” Rep. John Rusche said. “Every agency must have as a priority support for those private sector jobs.”