Completing the People’s Business
While this Legislative Session went long, we weren’t going home until we finished the people’s business. We made good on our promises to Idahoans from day one to…
- Realign the balance of power between the legislative and executive branches.
- Provide some desperately needed property tax relief and transparency.
- Find ways to get the unanticipated budget surplus back into the hands of taxpayers.
- Improve roads, bridges, and other infrastructure.
Review our investments in education to assure it’s money well-spent.
Property Tax Relief
Majority Leader Rep. Mike Moyle’s bill to provide some property tax relief was signed into law on Wednesday. House Bill 389 provides property tax relief in 2021 by increasing the homeowner’s exemption to $125,000 and cuts property taxes for those who qualify for the circuit breaker program, among other things. It also limits the ability of local taxing districts to increase their budgets.
“This is just the start. There is a lot more to get done,” said Rep, Moyle. “Property taxes are quite complicated and that’s why I keep reminding people those local districts have total jurisdiction over whether they’re going to raise your taxes. I encourage you to contact those local city councils and county commissions and tell them how you’re not happy with their budgets.”
Historic Tax Cut
The House Republican Caucus brought the single largest tax cut in state history to the hard-working people of Idaho. House Bill 380 was signed by the Governor on Monday. This tax cut will…
- Reduce all income tax brackets.
- Reduce the number of brackets to five.
- Set the top individual and corporate tax bracket to 6.5% retroactive to January 1, 2021.
- Provide Idahoans with $162.9 million in ongoing tax relief.
- Provide a one-time sales tax/income tax rebate, returning $220 million to Idaho taxpayers.
This new law was sponsored by Revenue & Tax Chair Representative Steven Harris, all members of House Majority Leadership, and Senator Steve Vick.
Assistant Majority Leader Rep. Jason Monks refused to back down when it came to ensuring a sensible balancing of the Governor’s powers in an emergency. After a similar bill was vetoed earlier this year, the Governor signed House Bill 391, House Bill 392 and House Bill 393 into law on Monday. These laws clarify that constitutional rights cannot be suspended because of a declared emergency, that the power and authority to create and amend laws is reserved to the legislature, that during a declared emergency the executive branch cannot change laws, and that all jobs are essential. Last week, the House passed Senate Bill 1217, which protects the rights to peaceable assembly, free exercise of religion, Idahoans’ right to bear arms during emergencies and prohibits a governor from unilaterally altering or suspending Idaho Code. The Governor also signed that into law on Monday.
A Respectful Workplace
Wednesday, Speaker of the House Bedke reaffirmed the Respectful Workplace Policy for House Staff. The Idaho House is committed to creating and maintaining a respectful work environment for all members, legislative employees, legislative partners, the press, and guests testifying before committee or visiting the Capitol. As part of this commitment, Speaker Bedke is charging the House Ethics and House Policy Committee with reviewing and improving the Respectful Workplace Policy originally brought forward in 2018.
“This House belongs to everyone in Idaho and no one working here or visiting these revered halls should ever be made to feel unwelcome or uncomfortable. I have always clearly communicated to everyone working within the House of Representatives that they perform their duties with the highest levels of integrity and professionalism. However, best practices should include the adoption of an official policy, so that’s what I’m doing by enacting this employee and volunteer policy until a more extensive policy can be produced,” said Speaker Bedke. “We are in the process of reaching out to appropriate community groups that will help us write a new policy with the hopes that it will be adopted in January of 2022.”
A Look Back
You can learn more about all the legislation our Caucus members worked on this session. Just click the link below.