"It’s All About You!”
- Senator Dan Johnson
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Thank you for the honor and privilege of serving you in the Idaho State Senate for the last four legislative sessions.
The 2nd Regular Session of the 63rd Idaho Legislature began on January 11, 2016, and through the collaborative efforts of individuals, citizen groups, executive agencies and legislative members we accomplished many good things for the citizens of Idaho.
Public schools support programs received a 7.4% increase in General Fund dollars from the previous fiscal year. This includes 167 units of growth, the second year of the teacher career ladder at $41.5 million, a district discretionary funds increase of $27.3 million, new literacy proficiency funding at $9.1 million, a technology increase of $3.0 million and gifted/talented at $1.0 million.
The legislature also approved funding for a 3% pay increase for permanent state employees distributed at the discretion of each agency head, and funding for a 9.3% increase for the cost of health insurance. This means that employee-paid premiums did not change. The state maintained its “grandfathered” status under the federal health care law which mandates that employee contribution increases cannot exceed 5% of their FY 2010 levels.
General Fund revenues are derived from individual income tax, sales tax, corporate income tax and all other taxes. For the current fiscal year through February 2016, General Fund revenues were meeting the forecast of 4.1% revenue growth above FY 2015. The Joint Finance & Appropriations Committee’s work on the FY 2017 budget leaves a healthy ending balance to start the next fiscal year.
During this legislative session more than 600 draft pieces of legislation – including resolutions, memorials and proclamations – were prepared for legislative committees and individual legislators. Most of the draft pieces of legislation were introduced, some were passed by both houses, and most that passed were acted on by the Governor and became law. I supported meaningful legislation to:
1) Create two new mental health crisis centers and four new recovery centers in Idaho.
2) Demonstrate Idaho’s ability to take over primacy to implement the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System for Idaho’s municipal water and discharge systems.
3) Expand training and retraining opportunities for Idaho’s workforce.
During this coming summer and fall, larger issues that could not be addressed during the legislative session will be studied through interim legislative committees. These issues may include the public schools funding formula, public procurement practices, tax policies, bias in administrative hearings and employee benefits.
“It’s About You!” summarizes my beliefs in the legislative process. It works best when YOU are involved in the process. I welcome your ideas, questions and concerns. My contact information is online here and through the Idaho Legislature’s website. I look forward to hearing from you.
In Service for You and Your Family
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