Idaho closes fiscal year with $100.7M surplus

Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter addresses audience members during a “Capital for the Day” question-and-answer session with Idaho leadership in Firth on Feb. 28. John Roark /

Though Idaho’s tax revenues fell short of forecasts for June, the state has now closed out the 2018 fiscal year $100.7 million ahead of expectations.

That’s despite a $19.3 million shortfall in the June collections; it was one of the few months that state taxes didn’t meet or exceed forecasts. June collections were 5.3 percent below forecasts and 4 percent below the mark set the previous June. But for the entire fiscal year, which ended June 30, the state’s general fund tax revenue beat forecasts by 2.8 percent and came in 8.2 percent higher than the previous year.

Under a “surplus eliminator” law passed by state lawmakers, $60.3 million of the year-end surplus will be split 50-50 between the Budget Stabilization Fund, the state’s main rainy-day savings account; and a fund for local and state road and bridge projects. The rainy-day fund now has a balance of more than $413.5 million.

“Our ability to pay for the public services needed by a growing population is a credit to the dynamism and diversity of Idaho’s economy and the talents, abilities and efforts of our entrepreneurs, employers, and the men and women who provide the means,” Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter said in a statement. “All of us in state government are committed to living within those means, and to ensuring that Idahoans’ tax dollars are used efficiently and effectively.”

Individual income tax revenues were off by 11.7 percent in June compared to forecasts, while sales tax revenues ran 6.6 percent ahead of forecasts. For the fiscal year, individual income taxes ran nearly 4 percent ahead of forecasts; corporate income taxes, 10.6 percent ahead; and sales taxes 1.3 percent ahead.

The state’s total general fund tax revenues collected for the year came to more than $3.73 billion. While state economists forecast that revenue would grow by 5.3 percent over the previous year, the actual growth was 8.2 percent.

“The tax dollars of Idaho’s citizens are accounted for in accordance with the law, and the state of Idaho closed its fiscal year with a balanced budget,” said state Controller Brandon Woolf. “Because of our Idaho values, the state’s leaders have made prudent, fiscally responsible decisions. Idaho maintains a strong financial position going into the new fiscal year.”

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.