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Idaho's Economy is Looking Bright

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The future looks bright, from a Seat in the House

I have been asked by several people over the course of the summer how Idaho is doing financially. I am happy to report that we are doing well!

Idaho’s fiscal year 2013 (FY 2013) ended June 30. The Idaho Division of Financial Management’s General Fund Revenue Report for July stated that “Idaho’s General Fund ended FY 2013 on a positive note. Total receipts for June 2013 were $278.9 million, which is $17.0 million (6.5 percent) more than the forecast.”

June was the fifth month since December of last year that General Fund receipts exceeded the forecasts.

The June $17 million surplus was a significant factor in helping the total FY2013 General Fund revenues exceed the FY2013 forecast. Total receipts for FY 2013 were $2,750.3 million, $92.3 million (3.5 percent) more than the $2,658.0 million that was projected in January. This is a 6.3 percent increase over fiscal year 2012!

All of the General Fund categories contributed to the higher than forecasted amounts. Individual income taxes provided $1,284.4 million, which was $40.9 million over the estimate representing an increase of 3.5 percent.

Corporate income tax revenue receipts were estimated at $183.8 million but receipts in this category reached $198.7 million, an increase over projections of $14.9 million or 8.1 percent.

Actual sales tax revenues of $1,109.8 million exceeded the estimated $1,082.5 by $27.3 million, an increase of 2.5 percent over the forecasted amount.

Product taxes exceeded the forecast by 2.2 percent. Receipts in this category reached $49.9 million; an increase of $1.1 million over the forecasted $48.8 million.

Even the revenue from the miscellaneous category exceeded its estimated amount. The revenues from this category reached $107.6 million, which was 8.2 percent over the forecast, an increase of $8.1 million. 

Because the General Fund revenue receipts have resulted in a substantial surplus, Idaho has been able to begin replenishing its savings accounts or “rainy day” funds. 

House Bill 345 (HB345) passed last session provided that any excess in revenues over $79,952,900 on June 30, 2013 would be transferred to the Budget Stabilization Account. This is in excess of transfers already required by existing statute to the Budget Stabilization fund.

The end result is that for FY 2013 HB 345 required a transfer of $85,392,200 to the Budget Stabilization fund in addition to the required Statutory Transfer of $25,877,100 for a total transfer to the fund of $111,269,300.

The Idaho legislature has authorized six reserve funds to assist in meeting unanticipated funding needs resulting from negative impacts of a downturn in the economy or other fiscal emergencies.

The current balances for these reserve funds are:

• Budget Stabilization Fund $135,138,343.02

• Public Education Stabilization Fund $49,049,314.68

• Economic Recovery Reserve $56,537.27

• Millennium Fund $15,562,500.18

• Higher Education Stabilization Fund  $942,474.80

• Emergency Funds $3,424,223.57

• Total Reserve Funds   $204,173,393.52

There will probably be some discussion in the upcoming legislative session to reduce the balance in the budget stabilization fund and possibly some of the other funds in order to meet increased spending requests or to allow tax rate reductions or exemptions, but recent economic history has proved the value of Idaho having sufficient funds in reserve. Our “rainy day” accounts significantly assisted the state from having to make drastic cuts in some major programs in order to weather through the recent recession.

Our economic situation continues to be positive. The General Fund performance for FY2013 has resulted in an increase in the revenue forecast for fiscal year 2014 (FY 2014). The revised General Fund forecast for FY2014 is $2,808.8 million. This is a 2.1 percent increase above the FY 2013 forecast of $2,799.1 million.

The State of Idaho’s economic situation is strong and although the state of the economy is not improving as fast as we would like, Idaho’s conservative nature continues to serve our citizens well.

 Thanks for reading. As always feel free to contact me with questions or concerns of importance to you. I can be reached by email at geskridge(at)coldreams.com or by phone at 208-265-0123 or by mail at P.O. Box 112, Dover 83825. George

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Rep. George Eskridge Rep. George Eskridge the Republican Representative for District 1 in Idaho’s House, George Eskridge can be reached at 208-265-0123 or write PO Box 112, Dover, ID 83825

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A Seat in the House, Idaho economy

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