Gov. Brad Little celebrated his special session wins Tuesday morning in front of a crowd of students, educators and local legislators at Garden City’s Pierce Park Elementary School.
“I know you’re all interested in this,” Little said to around 70 elementary schoolers, laughing as he recapped the $410 million boost for education and $650 million in tax cuts and rebates that resulted from last week’s one-day special session.
House Speaker Scott Bedke, R-Oakley; Senate President Pro Tem Chuck Winder, R-Boise; Sen. C. Scott Grow, R-Eagle; Rep. Colin Nash, D-Boise; and Rep. Brooke Green, D-Boise, sat to the side of the governor in the school’s gymnasium as he addressed the students. Little recognized the lawmakers as his “partners” in the process of approving the new law, which easily passed in both the House and Senate last Thursday, despite lengthy discussion in both chambers.
The law earmarks an additional $330 million for K-12 and $80 million for an in-demand careers fund, but does not dictate how the money will be spent. That decision is up to next year’s Legislature. The bill also created a new 5.8% flat tax, and approved tax rebates – a minimum $300 rebate for individual tax-filers and a minimum $600 rebate for joint filers. The governor said rebates will be sent out as early as September.
Little told the students his goal was to get money back to their parents, and into their schools. “This bill we signed last week is part of Idaho history.”
Pierce Park principal Kelly Anne Kuntz thanked the governor and lawmakers in closing.
“As a lifelong educator, I’ve seen firsthand the impact of high quality education on children and families and the community,” she said. “By investing in our public schools, Idaho’s leaders have shown that they are invested in Idaho’s future.”
Little will celebrate the passage of HB1 at two more schools this week.