For Immediate Release – September 13, 2019
News Release: Volunteers Flock to Support Invest in Idaho Ballot Initiative
Sandpoint – Reclaim Idaho’s “Invest in Idaho” citizen ballot initiative has been public for barely a week, and already volunteers from close to 40 towns/cities all over the state have signed up to volunteer for the effort. The initiative would bring major investment into Idaho’s K-12 public education system.
“The response is overwhelming. We didn’t have anywhere near these many volunteers ready to support Medicaid Expansion eight days in,” said Luke Mayville, Co-Founder of Reclaim Idaho. “It is clear the people of Idaho are tired of waiting for the politicians to act on such a vital issue that affects every Idahoan. From Bonners Ferry to Pocatello, Idaho families want the state to invest in teachers, their kids and jobs.”
The “Invest in Idaho” ballot initiative is designed to raise investments of $170-200 million in K-12 public schools. The measure would call for modest investments from Idaho’s richest families and corporations who benefitted from the 2017 Federal and Idaho State tax giveaway. More than 80-percent of the state corporate tax giveaway accrued to out-of-state companies. The initiative would also help counter the Idaho Legislature’s tax increase on working families which started in 2006. Less than five-percent of Idaho taxpayers would be affected by Reclaim Idaho’s initiative.
“Idaho’s failure to invest in our kids and communities is not exactly breaking news. The state legislature and state officials have been aware of the problem for years,” said Reclaim Idaho Executive Director Rebecca Schroeder. “Idaho families have been very patient and very reasonable waiting for the politicians to act. This citizen ballot initiative is the direct result of elected leaders failing to do their jobs.”
Idaho’s inability to produce a skilled workforce that attracts companies and fosters an entrepreneurial culture throughout the Gem State is well documented (see attached Fact Sheet). The results have been devastating. In 2018, according to Idaho’s STEM Action Center, the state left 6,300+ STEM-related jobs unfilled, resulting in $412 million in unclaimed wages. By comparison, one of Medicaid Expansion’s main advantages was bringing back $400 million in federal funds to Idaho.
Reclaim Idaho also announced a statewide organizing tour which will begin in Sandpoint on Saturday, September 14, 2019. Volunteers will move on to stops in Bonners Ferry, Wallace, Coeur d’Alene, Lewiston, Moscow, Orofino and Grangeville over the next week.
Background: Reclaim Idaho is the nonpartisan, volunteer organization responsible for getting Medicaid Expansion on the November 2018 ballot. The measure passed with 61% of the statewide vote. In addition to providing healthcare access to tens of thousands of Idahoans, Medicaid Expansion is expected to bring back $400 million in federal funds to Idaho, shore up Idaho’s rural hospitals, and create thousands of jobs around the state.