OPINION: Idaho-Focused Accomplishments from the 2023 Legislative SessionThursday April 6, 2023
For more than 20 years, I have had the honor of spending the beginning of each new year at the Idaho Capitol, working hard to do right by those who entrusted me to be their voice at the Statehouse and to continue to make Idaho the best state in the nation to live, work, and raise a family. The 2023 Legislative Session was no different. While my role may have changed, as your new Lieutenant Governor, I am proud of the work my legislative colleagues and I accomplished this year for the betterment of Idaho and its citizens.
A successful business climate begins with a good education system. This year, the state legislature focused on school choice, empowering parents, supporting Idaho’s public schools, and recognizing the crucial role of good teachers in every classroom. It is now Idaho law to keep parents in the driver’s seat of their child’s education and encourage consistent, transparent communication between parents and schools.
In addition, the passage of the Idaho Launch Program is a huge step forward for our state. This grant of up to $8,000 per student is an investment in Idaho high school graduates that will pay dividends back in every business sector. This scholarship will give students who want to pursue a career in the trades or attend a workforce training program the means to help pay for that education. The Idaho Career Ready Students Program that passed this session will help us meet our local industry and workforce needs by creating a pool of well-trained, skilled workers. This program will move us forward to the day when an Idaho kid can always get an Idaho job.
As inflation continues to affect almost every aspect of our lives, your elected officials also addressed rising property taxes. Governor Brad Little’s initial veto of a bill that was disguised as property tax relief was the right choice. The first bill was a mixed bag of policies that would have made significant changes to education, transportation infrastructure, and public defense funding. The Legislature then drafted a series of “trailer” bills designed to keep property tax relief simple, competitive, and long-lasting. Idahoans will now receive $117 million of ongoing property tax relief with no unintended consequences to local control, school bonding, ambulance and fire district funding, or needed transportation projects across Idaho counties. After back-to-back-to-back years of tax relief, no other state has given back more taxpayer money per capita than Idaho has.
Idaho is focusing on the future. This year, your state government continued to remove unnecessary red tape, make smart investments in key areas, and promote a positive business climate. From establishing grant programs to help improve roads and bridges, to furthering the development of emerging clean, domestic energy technologies, and to assuring that Idaho elections are safe, secure, and transparent, the 2023 Legislative Session continued to keep Idaho well positioned for the future.
As your 44th Lieutenant Governor, I am honored and humbled by your trust. My overriding goal is to continue implementing policies that are family-centered, business-friendly, and Idaho-focused. I am proud and excited to work with Governor Little as we make our state one that we can all be proud of.