Luke Mayville, a co-founder of Reclaim Idaho, has responded to several questions Idaho Dispatch had about the ballot initiative the group is fighting for in 2022.
One question Idaho Dispatch had for Mayville was on the certification of the signatures Reclaim had sent in for verification. The group had submitted over 97,000 signatures for verification.
Here is what Mayville told Idaho Dispatch about the verification process and where it currently stands,
The deadline for the clerks to verify our petitions is not until the end of June. After that, we have until July 8th to submit all verified petitions to the Idaho Secretary of State for their final review. By mid July, the Secretary of State will officially determine whether the initiative will appear on the ballot.
According to Mayville’s statement, the process could take another month before an official announcement is made. Reclaim got more signatures than would be required, which is expected as some signatures will be disqualified.
Idaho Dispatch also asked Mayville what impact on the ballot initiative, if any, he thought the current state of the economy, with higher prices and inflation, may have on voters’ minds when they go to the ballot box in November.
Mayville responded to Idaho Dispatch’s question by saying,
On average, a teacher in Idaho earns $27,000 less than in Washington, $16,000 less than in Oregon, and $8,000 less than in Wyoming. Idaho is dead last of 50 states in wages for support staff like reading specialists and custodians. Idaho is not paying competitive salaries and wages, and so we’re facing a crisis when it comes to recruiting and retaining qualified educators. Record-breaking inflation only makes this problem more severe, because inflation is basically a pay cut for every educator. When we talked to tens of thousands of Idaho voters during our signature drive, most voters agreed that we need to act now to support our teachers and staff.
Finally, Idaho Dispatch asked Mayville if he had any other comments he wished to add, such as how he felt about Idaho’s current state of education or how the volunteers did in gathering signatures. Here is what Mayville said,
Idaho is dead last of 50 states in funding for public schools. This has been a problem in Idaho for years. Because of the hard work of volunteers in every region of the state, the voters now have a chance to do something about it. More funding won’t solve every single problem, but the vast majority of Idaho voters agree that more funding is necessary to recruit qualified teachers and staff.
And most Idaho voters agree that more funding is necessary to provide our kids with strong programs, including programs in fields like welding, carpentry, and ag science–the types of programs that give students a chance to make a living when they graduate.
Idaho Dispatch will follow up on this issue again after the official announcement has been made by the Secretary of State’s office.
The original article Idaho Dispatch wrote on June 4 is below.
Reclaim Idaho said last month it had turned in more than enough signatures to get its education initiative on the ballot in November.
On May 2, Reclaim Idaho said they had gathered more than 97,000 signatures to turn in for verification. The group posted the following message on Twitter,
We did it! With nearly 97K signatures submitted, we’re confident that the Quality Education Act will appear on the ballot!
This means that voters will have a chance to increase K-12 funding by $323 million annually—with no new taxes on anyone making under $250K a year. #idpol
No official announcement has been made on whether or not the signatures Reclaim gathered have had enough verified to put their education initiative on the ballot officially. Idaho Dispatch reached out to the Secretary of State’s office for an answer, but we have not yet received one.
To get the initiative on the ballot, Reclaim had to gather 6% of registered voters from at least 18 of the state’s 35 legislative districts. Groups will often gather more than the necessary amount because signatures can be tossed out for various reasons.
Some individuals signing may give an incorrect or incomplete address, and those signatures are then invalidated.
We asked Reclaim co-founder Luke Mayville if he knew whether or not the signatures had been verified. Mayville responded to Idaho Dispatch initially by asking if it was too late to answer some of the questions we had sent him. We informed him there was still time but have not heard back from him yet.
Reclaims “Quality Education Act” would raise the tax rate on those making more than $250,000 a year ($500,000 for a couple) and raise the corporate tax rate from 6.5% to 8%. Reclaim estimates that approximately $323 million will be raised for education through the tax increases.
The group also says on its website that none of the increase would go to administrative costs.
One of the questions Idaho Dispatch asked Mayville was whether he thought the current state of the economy would have any impact on their effort to pass the initiative. If Mayville responds to our original questions, we will update the article.
Those opposed to the initiative say it is not time to raise taxes on Idahoans and that spending more money on education will not yield better results.
One online commenter posted a reply to Reclaim’s tweet from May 2 saying,
The irony of this, of course, is that those making more than $250k a year are already the ones paying for the bulk of the taxes and their kids don’t even attend them. Way to stick it to the man!
What do you think of Reclaim Idaho’s education initiative? Do you support it or oppose it?
Let us know what you think in the comments below.
Tags: Education, Luke Mayville, Quality Education Act, Reclaim Idaho