In 2014, the Center hit the ground running. They presented a responsible alternative budget that showed how to put schools, Idahoans’ health, and responsible financial policies first.
Their solid research made it clear that Idaho could restore support for schools and other essential public services by holding off on the latest round of proposed cuts to state revenue. And they got results! After a press conference where they explained their conclusions, the co-chair of the Legislature’s Joint Fiscal Appropriation Committee agreed that Idaho could not afford the additional cuts. Ultimately, lawmakers increased the state’s investment in education by nearly the double the amount initially proposed.
This summer, the Center continued to make headlines across the state. Their Six Key Facts underscored the troubling ways Idaho’s economy is falling behind the nation. They found that Idaho has the second lowest per capita income in the US and the state’s investment in education has plummeted dramatically over the past 15 years. This sobering information became a key issue in the media during the recent elections, demonstrating how – together – it is possible to change the conversation.
In 2015, the Center is poised to offer common-sense ideas to get Idaho back on track. They’ll crunch the numbers and produce a responsible alternative budget to show how using available federal dollars will save state and local budgets $65 million in the first year alone, extend health coverage to 78,000 Idahoans, and generate millions in new economic activity.
That’s just the beginning. They have plans for advancing real reforms to make sure Idaho lawmakers and the public know the true costs of legislation before it is passed. Too often the right questions are not asked and vital information is lacking.
In 2015 they will engage in positive, solution-oriented dialog about what matters most to Idahoans and how they can build a stronger state. When Idaho makes good decisions about how to raise and spend money, everyone benefits. Increasing investments that help Idahoans make ends meet and eliminating spending that fails to create jobs builds a stronger economy for all Idaho families.