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'Reclaim Idaho' gathers signatures to get education funding initiative on November ballot

Reclaim Idaho is looking to push more than $300 million toward public education. They plan to pay the bill by taxing the state's highest income earners.

BOISE, Idaho — While the legislative session has come to a close, lawmaking in Idaho is not taking a break.

Reclaim Idaho gathered signatures Saturday evening at the Boise Depot in support of their 'Quality Education Act.' The potential ballot initiative looks to increase funding toward Idaho public schools by adding another income tax bracket for the highest wage earners in the state.

"It's an urgent issue people care about.," Reclaim Idaho volunteer Sam Sandmire said. "We're losing our teachers because every state around Idaho pays a lot more than we pay."

Idaho ranks dead last in per-student funding, according to a 2021 report by the National Education Association.

The Quality Education Act aims to collect more than $300 million annually for Idaho public schools on the back of income tax increases. 

The proposed legislation looks to create a new income tax bracket for the highest wage earners - this comes after Idaho lawmakers consolidated state income tax brackets earlier in the 2022 legislative session.

Under The Quality Education Act, any individual making more than $250,000 annually would have every dollar earned over $250,000 taxed at a 10.925% rate. The same 10.925% tax bracket would be created for married couples earning more than $500,000 annually.

The Quality Education Act also looks to increase the state's corporate tax rate from 6% up to 8%.

Reclaim Idaho wants the proposed legislation to be for vote on the November 2022 ballot. The organization needs 65,000 valid signatures from registered Idaho voters. Those signatures also must represent at least 6% of 18 different legislative districts across the state.

Reclaim Idaho has collected 75,000 signatures to date in support of the proposed law, according to co-founder Luke Mayville. Assuming several signatures will not be valid, Reclaim Idaho aims to collect 90,000 signatures by April 29th.

If successful, the proposed legislation would be up for vote as an initiative. Initiatives need a simple majority - 50% plus one vote - to become law.

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