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Idaho on track for $530 million budget surplus

Gov. Little announced Friday the Gem State is on track to bring in 10% more revenue in this fiscal year than the last.
Credit: KTVB
Gov. Brad Little

BOISE, Idaho — Idaho Gov. Brad Little held a press conference on Friday afternoon to discuss the state budget.

During the press conference, Little revealed the Gem State is on track to end the year with a $530 million surplus, the largest in state history. September revenues were $33 million ahead of what was expected.

If it holds, the surplus will be about ten times more than what was expected at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’m optimistic that if we collectively continue our efforts to fight COVID-19, we will have enough money in the state budget at the end of the fiscal year to provide tax relief to Idahoans and make much-needed investments in education, transportation, and water projects,” Little said.

Little highlighted the state's recovery efforts against COVID-19, stating that all 115 Idaho school districts are open for in-person or partial in-person learning. He also shared Idaho's unemployment rate is the third-best in the country.

In early July, Little revealed Idaho would end the fiscal year with a balanced budget and a $100 million surplus, despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. He also shared that the state's rainy day fund remained untouched. Little attributed this to his request for state agencies to cut their budget by 1%.

“I am proud to talk about all the ways Idaho is leading the country in our economic prosperity, but we simply cannot continue that trajectory if do not do all we can to protect our neighbors, schools, and the economy in the coming months,” Little said.

Despite the financial achievements in Idaho, Little cautioned Idahoans to be considerate and to continue practicing precautionary measures against COVID-19 as the winter months approach.

“Sadly, 503 of our fellow Idahoans have already died within just a few months from this aggressive and highly contagious disease, and that number would be exponentially higher if we had not taken steps to protect lives and preserve healthcare capacity since the spring,” Little said. “But with temperatures starting to drop, case numbers are already starting to climb, and we must do all we can to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our state.”

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