On Monday, Jan. 10 state legislators will gather in Boise to begin this year’s legislative session. One of these legislators will be Ron Nate, a Republican representative from District 34.
The representative is also an economics professor at BYU-Idaho.
“My economics training has certainly helped me be a better legislator,” Nate said, “…but likewise my role in the legislature has helped me become a better economics professor too.”
Nate has seen the value in his economic expertise especially as the state legislature prepares to determine the allocation of a $1.6 billion surplus. He sees the surplus as a sign the government is collecting more than is necessary.
This year Nate is focusing on a grocery tax repeal, which he says would only cost 20% of the budget surplus. Idaho is one of five states that fully tax groceries. The state does have a tax credit for groceries. As the cost of groceries rises and the state receives increased tax dollars as a result, Nate believes that a repeal makes sense.
“Families need it more than ever,” Nate said.
The representative also believes in being careful with the surplus and state spending.
“You get yourself into financial troubles not in the bad years but in the good years where you overcommit yourself,” Nate said.
Keeping taxes low is part of the Idaho Conservative Agenda for 2022. Nate is one of 31 legislators who signed the agenda, setting a path for their decision-making during the legislative session. The agenda’s three pillars are to restore freedom, lower taxes and reduce government.
Nate’s passion for keeping taxes low has been fueled by his relationship with his constituents. He said property taxes have burdened residents of district 34.
The redistricting proposal would shrink district 34 to include only Madison County. Nate is excited to take the opportunity to get to know more constituents, especially during campaign season.
“I’ll get to visit more doors,” Nate said.
Last year conservative legislators saw taxes cut by $400 million and outlawed the teaching of critical race theory in school.
As Nate looks forward to the upcoming session, he expects the budget surplus, individual freedom and medical privacy to be the main topics.
He will also continue to serve on the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee, a committee comprised of both representatives and senators. The committee sets Idaho’s $4.3 billion budget.
“We need to be vigilant to protect Idahoan’s rights,” Nate said.