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Concerns Over Reclaim Idaho’s Quality Education Act Ballot Initiative

IDAHO — After months of collecting signatures across the state, the group Reclaim Idaho has gathered enough signatures to have its ballot initiative, the Quality Education Act, certified by the Secretary of State’s office. But some concerns have been raised, forcing state officials to dig deeper into the initiative’s language and intentions.

An article by the Tax Foundation highlighted what author Jared Walczak called a “series of mistakes.”

“This [article] actually came to us from two different sources,” Chief Undersecretary Chad Houck said. “We then reviewed the article and it then raised questions. We raised these questions with the Attorney General’s office about two weeks ago actually.

According to Reclaim Idaho, the ballot initiative would “increase funding for K-12 public schools by $323 million annually.”

If passed, the law would impose no new taxes on anyone earning less than $250,000 a year and would restore the corporate income tax rate to 8%, while adding an income tax of 4 .5% on amounts earned over $500,000 per year for married couples or $250,000 per year. year for individuals.

Reclaim Idaho campaigned on it, collecting signatures across the state, but now concerns are being raised about how the initiative would be implemented if passed.

According to the attorney general’s office, “the ballot measure uses the 2021 version of the law as its base language to which it then applies amendments.” If the wording of the ballot measure were passed, it would ignore all of the 2022 legislative amendments that lowered tax rates.

So current tax rates could fall back to their 2021 levels, as noted, imposing tax increases on most incomes and raising nearly $570 million for education.

“The initiative has always been designed not to include new taxes. Not at all on anyone making less than a quarter million dollars a year,” said Reclaim Idaho co-founder Luke Mayville. “Some of our detractors believe that lower bracket tax rates would be restored to what they were before. That’s incorrect if you look at the plain text of the initiative.

And now?

The initiative language cannot be changed. According to Chief Deputy Attorney General Brian Kane, “there is nothing we can do at this point about the language of the ballot or the text of the initiative. If it is adopted, it will be up to the legislator to regulate it as it sees fit.

Mayville says that if the legislature or any government agency decides to interpret the intent of the Quality Education Act in any other way that was not written in the initiative, Reclaim Idaho is prepared to take that matter to court. if necessary.

Now the choice is up to the voters. At this stage of the process, any voter or group of voters could prepare and file a request, for or against any measure before July 20.

Reclaim Idaho and The Idaho Freedom Foundation submitted pros and cons to the initiative.

Rebuttal arguments can be submitted no later than August 1 according to the Secretary of State’s website and voter pamphlets will be printed and distributed by the Secretary of State no later than September 25.