During our discussion on alternative proposed budgets last Friday, one of the questions we asked the pundits was whether anyone has proposed alternative budgets before.
On Monday morning, I found an alternative budget from the Idaho Freedom Foundation in my inbox. Like the one by Mike Ferguson, it differs from the governor’s in approach, priorities and philosophy.
Idaho Freedom Foundation’s Wayne Hoffman is a proponent of small government and low taxes; The budget reflects that with $180 million in tax relief. The press release suggests that could be used to entirely eliminate either the corporate income tax or the grocery tax.
Hoffman gives a relatively small increase to education at $14 million in general fund dollars. That includes teacher pay raises, but the budget doesn’t fund any of the task force recommendations, said IFF Communications Director Mitch Coffman.
The other thing that stood out to me (partly because I’m working on a related segment): The IFF budget puts $10 million from the general fund into transportation. That’s a departure from looking at other revenue sources (like the gas tax and registration fees) to pay for roads and bridges.
“Safe highways and bridges can no longer be regarded as a ‘user fee’ proposition. Everyone benefits from transportation infrastructure. If the Legislature doesn’t commit to funding roads using general tax receipts, eventually lawmakers will opt to raise taxes and fees and no matter what the increase, it will never be enough,” Hoffman said in the press release.
Other highlights of the Freedom Foundation budget:
-$10 million to Public Education Stabilization Fund, compared to $29.3 in governor’s budget, and no money to Higher Education Stabilization Fund or Budget Stabilization Fund, compared to a total of $42.3 in governor’s budget
-$2 million in replacement items, compared to $17.8 in governor’s budget
-$2 million in a public defender pilot program and $4.7 million in justice reinvestment; Neither of these items is in the governor’s budget.
I had other questions, but Hoffman is out of town right now. I’ll update with more when I’m able to catch up with him. But until then, here’s a link to the IFF’s alternative budget: http://idahofreedom.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/iff-alternative-budget.pdf