In her new political role, state GOP chairwoman Dorothy Moon threw some cold water on next week’s special legislative session.
In a statement Wednesday morning, Moon hailed the potential tax cuts on the table, but decried Gov. Brad Little’s plan to fold an additional $410 million of sales tax revenue into education.
Before we dive into the political subtext, here’s Moon’s statement, in full:
“The Idaho GOP applauds any effort to give the hardworking men and women of our state control over their own money and control over the destiny of their families. But when the special session convenes this September, it is the legislature that will deliberate and decide Idaho’s tax policy— not Idaho’s executive, nor the special interests, the unions, the media, nor Democrat front groups. We look forward to the legislative debate and hope all Idahoans will encourage their legislators to chart the right course for our state, free of outside influence.
“Efforts to stymie the work of the people’s elected legislators — including by dark-money-funded initiatives — are an affront to democratic deliberation and should be called out by every Idaho Republican serving in public office. In a time of runaway inflation and exorbitant housing costs, Democrat-backed tax increases—even those masquerading as funding for education programs—are the last thing Idaho’s working people need.
“The Idaho Republican Party will always stand with Idaho’s hardworking families, not against them.”
Now to the politics.
Little has bipartisan support for his one-and-done omnibus bill. He also has the raw numbers: 25 Senate co-sponsors and 37 House co-sponsors. That gives him enough votes to get his bill through — and, frankly, Little wouldn’t be reconvening this session if he didn’t think he could get something through.
But by no means does Little have unanimity within his own party. For conservatives, the $500 million in one-time tax refunds and the $150 million a year in permanent income tax cuts probably won’t go far enough — not when the state is sitting on a projected $2 billion budget surplus.
And the new $410 million for education will not go over well on the right — and with conservatives who take their cues from the Idaho Freedom Foundation, which says Little’s bill “surrenders to socialists.”
So while Moon doesn’t speak for all Idaho Republicans, she is certainly speaking for some of them.
Another sidelight: Moon has a vote on this bill. The Stanley Republican is still a member of the House. Like 41 of her colleagues — who are leaving the Legislature after the November elections — she could be casting her final floor vote on Sept. 1.