Newsletter: March 2, 2018

March 2, 2018

Senate passes $200 million tax cut

On Thursday the Senate passed tax cut legislation (HB 463). This bill makes four improvements to Idaho’s tax code:

• Conform the Idaho income tax code to changes made to the Internal Revenue Code that affect the 2018 taxable year. The major provisions include: increasing the standard deduction and eliminating the personal and dependent exemptions. These and most other Internal Revenue Code changes are temporary and will expire or phase-out after 2025 unless Congress acts.
• Reduce the individual income tax rates for all brackets by a .475 of a percentage point.
• Reduce the corporate tax rate by .475 of a percentage point.
• Create a nonrefundable state child tax credit of $130 per child
You can learn more about the Senate debate in the following news article:

Hill to Senate: Tax policy is exciting, affects everyone…
Eye on Boise • 3/1/18 • Betsy Russell

Sen Brent HillSenate President Pro-Tem Brent Hill, R-Rexburg, a retired CPA, told the Senate, “I get excited about tax policy – I guess it’s one of my character defects. And I get excited talking about this bill.” He’s presenting HB 463, the $200 million income tax cut bill, to the Senate for debate. “Tax policy is exciting – it affects every family and every citizen in the state,” Hill said. Click Here for the full story.

Professional Firefighters of Idaho at the Capitol

img-26651_cropThe mystical sound of bagpipes regaled the public and legislators on Monday as members of the Professional Firefighters of Idaho, (PFFI), gathered in the Capitol rotunda. (You can learn more about why bagpipes, a Scottish instrument, became such a traditional staple in the culture of the American firefighters by visiting the national ‘Fire Rescue 1’ website).

The PFFI was in Boise for their annual conference and took time out from their proceedings to visit with lawmakers. During their Capitol visit, members of the PFFI also presented at video of the Fire Ops 101 training event which Lt. Governor Brad Little participated in during the summer of 2017. Lt. Governor Little describes the training experience as one that gave him a glimpse into what the brave men and women of PPFI do on a daily basis.

“Arts Grow Learning” exhibit in rotunda

art_cropOn the fourth floor of the Capitol the Idaho Commission on the Arts has on display the “Arts Grow Learning” exhibit. This touring presentation showcases student visual art, dance, creative writing/storytelling and media arts created through Idaho’s “Arts Powered Schools” program. The exhibit will be on display in the Capitol until March 15, 2018. Click here to learn more about “Arts Grow Learning”.

Financial Literacy Day at the Legislature

header-1_cropThis Friday, the Idaho Financial Literacy Coalition, (IFLC), will sponsor “Financial Literacy Day at the Legislature”. This event allows local organizations to promote the need for Financial Literacy in our society.

The IFLC provides training on personal finance topics to adults as well as public and private school teachers in consumer economics, family & consumer sciences, business, math, and professional technical education.

Unfortunately, many Idahoans are not prepared to make wise financial decisions related to checking and savings accounts, auto insurance, credit and investments as evidenced by the high levels of loan delinquency, increasing numbers of fraud victims, and appeals for help to various agencies. The IFLC is working to reverse this trend.

Members of the coalition represent various educational, nonprofit, governmental, insurance, banking and securities related industries.

Idaho State University Day

Idaho State UniversityEducational displays spotlighting high quality academic and technical programs, filled the Capitol on Wednesday. Idaho State University students and alumni (with a little assist from Benny the Bengal) spent the day sharing with lawmakers information on their programs which are in very high demand. Click Here to learn more about Idaho State University and program availability.

Bills to Track

H0364 This bill saves taxpayer dollars by digitizing the transition vehicle credentialing process used by the Idaho Transportation Department. (3/1/18 update: to the Governor)

H0369 This legislation provides an Idaho-specific Roadless rule approach, rather than a one size fits all approach from the federal government. The bill codifies the existing Idaho Roadless Rule Implementation Commission as the entity to inventory Roadless areas of the state. (3/1/18 update: to the Governor)

H0386 This bill standardizes the handling and maintenance of Idaho’s voter registration files. The legislation designates the statewide voter registration database, maintained by the Secretary of State and accessed by the counties as the official register of electors. (3/1/18 update: Senate 3rd Reading)

H0387 This bill provides for a license plate fee exemptions for Purple Heart recipients. (3/1/18 update: passed House & Senate)

H0416 This legislation ensures that Idaho State Historical Society (ISHS) collections, held in trust for the people of the State of Idaho, are not treated as capitalized or financial assets; and that the collections in its custody are protected, secure, unencumbered, cared for, and preserved. (3/1/18 update: Senate 3rd Reading)

H0451 This bill helps to address Idaho’s doctor shortage. The legislation provides an income tax credit for charitable contributions made to Idaho-based medical residency placement organizations, accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education or the American Osteopathic Organization. Residency placement programs are essential to the final stages of M.D. and D.O. educational processes, and residency placement programs enhance programs like WWAMI by encouraging doctors to stay in the state of Idaho. (3/1/18 update: to the Governor)

H0493 This legislation facilitates the modernization of the state’s business information infrastructure. The bill provides the funding source and governance model for the State Controller’s office. (2/21/18 update: on the Senate 3rd Reading Calendar)

H0513 The purpose of this legislation is to provide a sales and use tax exemption for sales to or purchased by the Idaho Association of Free and Charitable Clinics and clinics who are members of the Idaho Association of Free and Charitable Clinics. (3/1/18 update: Senate 3rd Reading)

S1208 Agricultural Labor – allows for the use of inmate labor in production. (3/1/18 update: to the Governor)

S1212 This legislation will provide ‘program quality funding’ for career technical education secondary programs in the areas of business management and marketing, engineering and technology, family and consumer sciences, health sciences, and skilled and technical sciences. As part of a program quality funding framework, the Division of Career Technical Education housed in the Idaho Department of Education will provide technical assistance funding to programs which now will include agricultural and natural resources. This funding is currently not available for agricultural and natural resources programs. (3/1/18 update: passed Senate, in House committee)

S1219 This legislation will lower health care insurance costs for local governments who pool together to buy insurance by reducing unnecessary regulation. This bill also saves taxpayers money! (3/1/18 update: passed Senate on House 2nd Reading)

S1222 Education – Bolsters Career Technical Education Secondary programs and incentive funding. (3/1/18 update: Law)

S1229 Secretary of State – streamlines submission of early voting notification process for both the county and the Secretary of State. (3/1/18 update: has passed the Senate and is in the House awaiting a hearing)

S1234 Adds to existing law to require that employees, employment applicants, contractors and subcontractors have a criminal background check if they will have access to federal tax information. (3/1/18 update: has passed the Senate, on the House 3rd Reading)

S1267 Education – Establishes a Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) diploma. A STEM diploma should help those who receive it with scholarship applications, college admittance applications and job resumes. (3/1/18 update: passed the Senate, on the House 2nd Reading)

S1294 This legislation adds the Idaho School for the Deaf and Blind (ISDB) as a beneficiary of Idaho’s two taxes on tobacco products. All youth, birth to 21 years with hearing or vision loss, including those with other disabilities and deaf/blindness, in the State of Idaho may access the ISDB. The Safe and Drug Free Schools program provides public schools with revenue generated from Idaho’s two taxes on tobacco products, pursuant to 63-2506 and 63-2552A, Idaho Code. Because ISDB’s budget is appropriated separately from the public school support program, it does not benefit from these funds despite its vulnerable student population. (3/1/18 update: has passed the Senate awaiting a hearing in the House)

S1311 The proposed legislation creates a pilot program managed by health districts, who choose to participate in the pilot. Individuals may receive primary care for up to 10 months if they also attend a financial literacy course or health coaching. The financial literacy course or health coaching is provided by a qualifying non-profit. The goal of the pilot is two-fold. First help those in poverty learn financial literacy or health practices that will benefit them long-term. Second, provide access to primary care to those that may not have any access to health care. Only three health districts will participate in the program in the first year. (3/1/18 update: has passed the Senate awaiting a hearing in the House)

S1306 This legislation will aid in assuring that water delivery infrastructure, easements, and rights-of-way are not encroached upon as development occurs, and that the rights of water users are not injured. This bill requires planning and zoning authorities to notify those water delivery entities that have requested notice in writing of any proposed rezoning, subdivision, or any other site-specific land development proposals. By mutual agreement, notice can be provided by email. (3/1/8 update: passed the Senate, awaiting a hearing in the House).

SCR131 This resolution recognizes June as Cytomegalovirus Awareness Month in Idaho. CMV is the most common congenital infection in the United States and is the most common viral cause of birth defects and developmental disabilities, including deafness, blindness, cerebral palsy, mental and physical disabilities, seizures, and death. Most people are not aware of their CMV infection status, with pregnant women being one of the highest risk groups. The incidence of children born with congenital CMV can be greatly reduced with public education and awareness about basic prevention measures to guard against CMV infection. (3/1/18 update: passed the Senate, awaiting a hearing in the House)

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