Idaho has received $85 million more in tax revenue than expected this year.
On Tuesday, we told you $60 million of it will go toward education, but who will benefit from the other $25 million?
Every Idahoan who files taxes will reap the benefits.
Gov. Butch Otter has authorized $15 million to be used as a grocery tax credit.
Due to a tight budget, the state legislature gave Otter the OK to postpone the scheduled grocery tax credit increase March, but with surplus money, Otter will withhold his executive order.
This year, most Idahoans saw a $50 grocery tax credit on their tax refund, that’s scheduled to rise $10 a year until the credit reaches $100.
“When we passed this legislation a few years ago, we increased it. The object is to exempt it on all food, but that hasn’t occurred yet, and we were hoping to do that in stages,? said state Sen. Dean Mortimer of Idaho Falls.
“This is a promise we made three years ago, and we are just keeping that promise,”said Wayne Hammon, administrator of the Governor’s Budget Office.
Moritmer said the state can accredit the surplus to the 57 percent increase in corporate income tax this last fiscal year.
“That means our businesses have learned how to do business in a profitable way in today’s economic environment, and to me that is a great sign,? Mortimer said.
But people we spoke with around town said they think the $15 million could be better spent in other ways.
“It doesn’t make much of a difference to me,? said retired educator Linda Baugher. ?There are people that need it much more than I do.”
“I see where it’s a plus, but I also see where there are better ways we could have used it,” Natalie Burtenshaw said.
But Hammon said with the federal government’s budget uncertainty and the state legislature out of session, this is all they can do.
?He [Otter] can’t take that money and spend it somewhere else, but he can leave that money in the people’s pocketbooks where it belongs,? Hammon said.
The remaining surplus money will go toward community colleges around the state.