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What Idaho Gov. Brad Little wants to do with the $1.6 billion surplus

Little wants the state's huge budget surplus to go toward education, infrastructure, tax relief and savings.

BOISE, Idaho — The state of Idaho has a $1.6 billion budget surplus. Tax revenues have been pouring into the state's coffers at a higher rate than projected. For this Sunday's Viewpoint, Doug Petcash asked Gov. Brad Little where he would like to direct that big chunk of extra money.

Little: "We are going to address education, the promises that I made the last three, four years. All those promises are going to be fulfilled for the most part. Infrastructure and investments all over the state. A lot of these will be one-time because we don't know how much money is going to be ongoing, and then, of course, tax relief like we did last year."

Doug Petcash: That was $440 million, I believe, last year that you and the legislature gave back to Idahoans. Are you looking at something the same size?

Little: "We'll release our new budget projection right about the same time as the State of the State (Address). Our economists and some outside advisors are looking at what the money is, because as I said, we don't want to get ourselves into a hole, so the tax package will be sized where the economy is at that point in time to make sure that all the other things are sustainable going forward."

Doug Petcash: With that $440 million last year is another package of tax relief necessary this year? As you mentioned, times may not always be this flush.

Little: "A lot of people talk about let growth grow your way out of it, don't increase taxes, don't cut spending. We have the enviable position of really doing all of that, giving tax money back to the people that paid the taxes, which is the right thing to do, continuing to make our tax position competitively in Idaho versus the rest of the country, as competitive as possible. Still upholding our constitutional obligation to educate our kids and provide opportunities for people whether it be in CTE and training for the workforce or higher education we have the luxury with this budget of being able to do all of that."

Little also wants some of the money to be set aside in the state's rainy day accounts. He will deliver his fourth State of the State Address on January 10, the first day of the 2022 legislative session.

On Viewpoint, the governor lays out what some of his other priorities are for next year, including addressing the housing and rent crisis. He also gives his take on Idaho's continuing fight against the coronavirus. You can watch the full interview Sunday morning at 9 a.m. right after Meet the Press on Channel 7.

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