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In Idaho, the FY18 budget drew upon the usual agency requests, executive recommendation, and legislative appropriation activities. However, less business-as-usual was the judicial branch involvement due to the post-sine die transmittal, and subsequent veto, of a bill to eliminate the sales tax on food. Citing the implications for General Fund revenue and fiscal challenges from extreme weather conditions in early 2017, Governor Otter vetoed the sales tax repeal sparking a legal challenge from legislators. The Idaho Supreme Court upheld the executive veto in a 4‒1 decision.

The robust individual income and sales tax collections reported at close of FY17 exceeded the projections used to develop the FY18 budget, prompting automatic transfers to Idaho’s “savings accounts.” This outcome has great significance for the FY18 budget and will almost certainly flavor anticipated FY19 budget discussions in the 2018 legislative session due to residual frustration over tax reforms passed, not passed, and vetoed from the 2017 session.

In terms of FY18, the budget balanced without infusion from Idaho’s savings funds, basic services continued, and modest progress continued in education, economic development, and physical and technology infrastructure. However, the FY18 budget did not reflect important issues including needed regulatory action, tax, and rate reforms intended to catalyze economic development, tax repeals advocated by certain constituencies, medical care access and affordability, and sustainable state capacity. As most of these have long-term budget implications, state government (elected and appointed) will not be able to avoid action indefinitely.

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This document was originally published in California Journal of Politics and Policy by University of California. Copyright restrictions may apply. doi: 10.5070/P2cjpp9437345