Despite the economic upheaval associated with the coronavirus, Idaho ended its fiscal year Tuesday without needing to dip into savings to balance the fiscal 2020 budget.
Final figures won’t be available for a few days, but June revenue collections — combined with recent state spending cuts — were strong enough to offset a projected $356 million revenue shortfall from earlier in the year.
The state Board of Examiners was scheduled to meet Tuesday, to determine whether any money had to be pulled from savings to balance the 2020 budget. But Gov. Brad Little asked that the meeting be canceled.
“Due to the proactive steps we’ve taken of implementing cost control measures, exercising conservative fiscal management and conservative revenue forecasting, we’ve positioned (the state) to end fiscal year 2020 with a balanced budget, even in these uncertain times,” he noted in a letter to the board. “The preliminary June general fund revenues appear to be adequate, and we will not need to (transfer money) from the Budget Stabilization Fund to close out fiscal 2020.”
The Budget Stabilization Fund is the state’s primary savings account.
Even as recently as May, the state was looking at a potential $222 million budget shortfall. Much of that, however, was because of the decision to extend the deadline for 2019 income tax payments from April 15 until June 15.
As the June 15 deadline approached, it became apparent that revenue collections would be adequate to balance the budget.
“We feel pretty good about our ability to close the books on the year,” said budget director Alex Adams during a June 24 meeting of the Legislature’s Economic Outlook and Revenue Assessment Committee.
On the expense side of the ledger, Little ordered state agencies to cut another 1 percent from their budgets late in the fiscal year. That saved an estimated $35.7 million.