Idaho Governor Brad Little says, despite the pandemic, his state’s economy is strong and outpacing nearly every state economy in the nation.
Little called reporters together Friday to crow about a variety of economic indicators. He says Idaho has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation. Its economists recently issued a strong state revenue report. And, he says, Idaho is on track to have a $530 million surplus during the next legislative session.
“Many other states are operating in the red. Many other states are facing 10%, 20% and even 40% cuts just to adjust their budgets and they may consider increasing taxes on citizens and businesses, just to get by," he said.
Little had asked state agencies earlier in the year to hold five percent of their budgets in case the state needed the money. Despite the rosy outlook, he says, for now, he’ll ask agencies to continue to hold those funds. But the governor issued a caution, based on the recent trend of increasing coronavirus cases, including some of the highest daily positive test counts of the pandemic.
“I am proud to stand here and talk about all the ways Idaho is leading the country in our economic rebound. But we simply cannot continue that trajectory if we forget how we got here. Healthy people, open schools and a strong economy are not separate. They’re all the same," Little said.
He says health districts are or soon will be distributing new Covid antigen tests to communities around Idaho.