Mike Ferguson, Idaho's chief economist for 25 years, got Gov. Butch Otter to admit last month that the state probably wasn't meeting its constitutional obligation to “maintain a general, uniform and thorough system of public, free common schools.”
Ferguson served under Democratic Govs. John Evans and Cecil Andrus and Republicans Otter, Phil Batt, Dirk Kempthorne and Jim Risch. He now directs the Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy, which says support for Idaho schools has fallen by a fifth since 2000. The center says after decades of funding schools at roughly 4.4 percent of personal income, the figure fell to 3.5 percent in fiscal 2013. Meanwhile, school districts are increasingly relying on voter-approved supplemental property tax levies, which rose from $140 million to $169 million this year.
A news release from the League of Women Voters follows:
Will Idaho’s budget fund education adequately? What is the impact if the personal property tax is no longer assessed? Will existing business tax exemptions be evaluated? The League of Women Voters of Idaho will host a dinner event featuring Mike Ferguson, Director of the Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy, and former Idaho Chief Economist, who will share his analysis of the state government spending, budgeting and fiscal policy.
Mike Ferguson served with six administrations in the Governor’s Budget Office as Idaho’s chief economist for 25 years. After retiring during the beginning of Governor Otter’s second term, Mike launched the non-partisan, non-profit Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy. The mission of the Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy is to provide Idaho citizens and elected officials with fact-based information and analysis they can use to make informed public policy decisions that will shape Idaho’s future for generations to come.
The League of Women Voters of Idaho invites the public to attend a dinner event to learn more about the important budget decisions facing Idaho’s legislators today and the potential impact on Idahoans and programs tomorrow.
Date of the dinner is Saturday, February 16, 2013, at Louie’s Pizza and Italian Restaurant, 2500 E. Fairview Ave., Meridian. Cost of the family style Italian dinner is $25 per person. A no host social hour will begin at 5:00 p.m. Dinner and program will follow. Reservations required.
Space is limited; RSVP early. Send check or money order to Kip Winter, 2408 Carnegie St., Caldwell, Idaho 83607. Paid reservations received by February 9, 2013 will receive a ticket for a door prize drawing. Questions? Call Chris Stokes, LWVID Secretary, at 208-286-7694.
The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages the informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. Membership in the League is open to men and women of all ages. With more than 90 years of experience and 850 local and state affiliates, the League is one of America’s most trusted grassroots organizations.
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