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Idaho Democrats look ahead to 2022 legislative session

After the longest legislative year in state history, lawmakers turn the page to 2022 and kick off the year in less than two weeks.

BOISE, Idaho — As we approach the 2022 legislative session, Idaho lawmakers are laying out their goals for the new year. According to Assistant House Minority Leader Lauren Necochea (D-Boise), Idaho Democrats have two major topics in mind.

“Education and addressing property taxes for homeowners," Necochea said. "We need to restore fairness so homeowners aren’t asked to share an increasing piece of the load, while commercial property tax owners are paying less and less each year. I think those two are our big priorities, education and property taxes."

Necochea said reflecting on 2021 sets the stage for the new year. 

“We did not do what we needed to do this last session, when it comes to property taxes specifically,” Necochea said.

Back in May, Idaho Governor Brad Little signed property tax relief legislation but said, “I fear the long-term consequences may outweigh this temporary reprieve. I believe we can do more to address this growing problem.”

Rep. Necochea said she has heard from Idahoans about their frustrations with the work to fix skyrocketing property taxes.

“I continue to get emails from seniors who are very concerned," Necochea said. "They want to be able to age in place and they can’t do that with this tax shift that keeps coming and we Democrats had a bi-partisan bill to increase property tax assistance for seniors we could not get a hearing on that bill."

Idaho Democrats said they are prepared with new legislation to take on the property tax burden homeowners face in the Gem State, while promoting the growth of Idaho’s middle class.

“These tax cuts for working families that Democrats are promoting are not just popular, but they are very good for the economy," Necochea said. "When you put dollars into the hands of middle class families they get care repairs, they get their hair cut, they buy groceries, they spend those dollars in their local economy."

Necochea said she is also optimistic about accomplishing major legislation in the education arena.

“I am hopeful we can finally do things that democrats have been asking for and promoting for a long time, like funding all day kindergarten," Necochea said. "We have a patchwork of haves and have-nots across the state and we know that when it comes to early literacy skills, we know that full day kindergarten helps kids get reading on time."

With a large state surplus, lawmakers will debate where millions of dollars could go. Idaho Democrats believe there are enough resources to pass meaningful legislation on property tax and education.

“We can fund a balanced approach of increasing education and a package of tax credits that can help working families, such as increasing the child tax credit and making sure that families at every income level can access the full value, not just the top earners,” Necochea said.

With so many massive topics on the table in 2022, Rep. Necochea gave this advice to all Idahoans.

“I encourage Idahoans to reach out to their legislators and let them know what’s important to them,” Necochea said.

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