Reclaim Idaho begins gathering signatures on K-12 initiative

Signature gathering has started for a voter initiative to boost K-12 funding by increasing income tax rates for corporations and high-earners.

But Reclaim Idaho says it might put this campaign on hold — depending on what happens with its lawsuit challenging Idaho’s new initiative law.

On Thursday, the secretary of state’s office said Reclaim could begin gathering signatures for its Quality Education Act.

If the initiative gets on the ballot, and a majority of voters approve it, the initiative would generate more than $200 million per year for K-12.

The money would go into a dedicated fund, and could flow into 10 K-12 initiatives, such as reducing class sizes, attracting and retaining teachers and staff and providing full-day kindergarten.

The initiative would raise corporate income tax rates to 8 percent, while individuals would pay close to 11 percent on income above $250,000. The 2021 Legislature lowered corporate and top-end individual income tax rates to 6.5 percent.

“For too many years, our Legislature has failed to invest in our kids,” Reclaim co-founder Luke Mayville said Thursday. “The Quality Education Act will turn the tide and give our kids better access to qualified teachers and the skills they need to make a living.”

Reclaim has filed a lawsuit challenging a new state initiative law — requiring groups to collect signatures from 6 percent of registered voters in all 35 legislative districts. Critics, including Reclaim, say the law would make it virtually impossible to get an initiative on the Idaho ballot.

The Idaho Supreme Court will hear Reclaim’s case on June 29.

If the court strikes down the new initiative law, Reclaim will proceed on the K-12 ballot measure.

If the court keeps the initiative law on the books, Reclaim says it will pivot to a ballot measure that would require groups to collect signatures from 6 percent of registered voters, with no language pertaining to legislative districts.

 

About Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on KIVI 6 On Your Side; "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television; and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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