Governor Little’s Summer Agenda
While Idaho hospital workers and their elected officials continue to grapple with a solution to employer-mandated vaccinations, Idaho Governor Brad Little is once again proving to be a problematic politician to label.
The governor has been on the road meeting folks while solidifying his political base. Despite facing a multitude of primary threats, most expect him to win the Republican primary next May.
The governor started the week by supporting the Idaho Patriotic Thunder Ride in Meridian on Sunday. While others were at church or vacation, Governor Little was on the trail. I remember Tommy Ahlquist commenting on how early the governor would show up at events when both were running for governor four years ago. Brad Little will be a tough person to outwork in the upcoming election cycle.
The governor hit the public with two big releases to finish the week—one designed to help him with nonpartisan voters and the other for Pro-Life Republicans. Let's take a look at both of them.
Idahoans will begin receiving direct deposits or mailed checks in the form of income tax relief starting next week following the passage of Governor Brad Little’s historic tax relief package earlier this year.
The refunds are part of Governor Little’s “Building Idaho’s Future” plan to use our record budget surplus for tax relief and key investments in critical areas to keep up with the state’s unprecedented growth.
“Idaho's economy continues to blow past projections. We are leading the country in economic prosperity. This year, we achieved the single largest tax cut in state history! We’ve returned your tax dollars with our record budget surplus,” Governor Little said. “These tax cuts boost Idahoans' prosperity, and they keep our tax rates competitive and our business climate vibrant.”
Idahoans are benefitting from the single largest income tax cut in state history - $445 million for Idaho families and businesses, including $163 million in permanent, ongoing income tax cuts, and $8 million in ongoing property tax cuts offset by the General Fund.
“Curbing government spending should be the perpetual mission of public servants. Returning taxpayer dollars should always be our goal,” Governor Little added.
The Idaho State Tax Commission has a web page with FAQs on the tax rebate here: https://tax.idaho.gov/i-2082.cfm
Governor Little also announced in July that Idaho ended its fiscal year yet again with a record budget surplus – this time amounting to close to $1 billion – and that he would continue to pursue added tax relief and key investments during the 2022 legislative session.
Governor Brad Little signed on to an amicus brief today related to a case before the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS), seeking to protect the lives of preborn babies and restore state sovereignty.
“Protecting the lives of preborn babies has always been and will continue to be a priority of mine. I am also a defender of state sovereignty. My decision to join this lawsuit to protect lives and states’ rights reflects my conservative approach to constitutional interpretation. The ‘right’ to an abortion is a judicial creation. It is not a right expressed in the U.S. Constitution. I am asking the U.S. Supreme Court to clarify there is no constitutional right to an abortion and restore state sovereignty by allowing states to regulate all abortions consistent with the principles of democratic self-governance,” Governor Little said.
As of today, the governors of Idaho, Montana, Texas, Florida, Arizona, Iowa, South Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Missouri, and Oklahoma have joined a Governors’ amicus brief in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The case centers around a 2018 Mississippi law prohibiting abortions after 15 weeks except in medical emergencies or severe fetal abnormality. Lower courts held that Mississippi’s law violated the holdings in Roe v. Wade (1973) and Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), in which non-elected justices recognized a right to abortion exists contrary to the text and original meaning of the Constitution.
The Governors’ amicus brief supports the State of Mississippi’s cert petition, which SCOTUS accepted, to determine whether “all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional.”
The Governors’ amicus brief requests SCOTUS overrule Roe and Casey because there is no constitutional right to an abortion and, according to the principle of federalism, rights not granted in the U.S. Constitution should be entrusted to states to control.
SCOTUS is expected to hear the case in the fall.
Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden joined 17 other attorneys general in a similar amicus brief earlier this year.
Governor Little also signed the “Fetal Heartbeat Bill” into law in April to protect the lives of preborn babies.
The governor's strategy will be to continue to hit the road visiting the entire state solidifying his support. The one point of concern is the growing concern over the return to Covid protocols. The other is how the situation with the healthcare workers plays out in September. If we have hundreds of workers who've lost their job to his choice not to get involved, that could be a significant chink in his reelection armor.