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Data: Concern about Idaho’s future rises. Rent, property tax, grocery tax and education on Idahoans’ minds

Concerns about property tax, education, growth, and the future direction topped an annual survey of 1,000 Idahoans put together by the School of Public Service and Idaho Policy Institute at Boise State University.

The Idaho Public Policy Survey asks various questions and is issued each year early in the legislative session.  The survey is conducted by GS Strategies, the firm led by Republican pollster Greg Strimple. The survey was in the field in mid-November of 2022.

Worry about Idaho’s direction, growth

Most Idahoans think the state is on the right track, but the number surveyed who think that is in a statistical dead heat with the number of citizens who think things are not headed the right way.

“This continues a trend where Idahoans are seeing growing pessimism,” survey co-author Dr. Matthew May said. “The gap between these two answers is within the margin of error for the first time, suggesting Idahoans have concern about the future.”

Chart shows percentage of Idahoans who say the state is growing too fast. Via Boise State School of Public Service

Sixty-seven percent of Idahoans say the state is growing too fast, which is actually a slight decline from last year when 71.3% of those polled said growth was a problem. It’s the second year in a row that figure has dipped.

“Regionally, Canyon County respondents were the most dissatisfied, with 84% saying growth is happening too fast,” the survey authors wrote. “Even areas with the lowest proportion answering too fast – the Idaho Falls (61%) and Spokane (61%) media markets – still boasted clear majorities dissatisfied with the pace of growth.”

“Whether it’s due to economic expectations or the state’s overall direction, the results of this year’s statewide survey show Idahoans are increasingly concerned about the future,” May said. “Recognizing this rising concern and how Idahoans’ opinions on some issues have changed over time is useful as Idaho’s leaders and decision-makers evaluate policy options.”

Idahoans who have lived in the state for 10 years or more were six percent more likely to say growth was too fast as compared to newer residents who moved here in the last ten years.

Rent, housing costs

Chart shows how many Idahoans say their rent has gone up. Via Boise State School of Public Service

Survey authors asked Idahoans who rent their homes about the cost they pay for housing. Sixty-five percent of renters say their rent is more expensive now than a year ago. Just one percent said they are spending less.

Chart shows Idahoans are increasingly saying property taxes are too high. Via Boise State School of Public Service

Homeowners continue to express concern about property taxes. Forty-eight percent of homeowners surveyed said the state’s budget surplus should be used to help ease property tax burden.  Overall, 55.9% of Idahoans say property taxes are too high.

Other highlights:

  • Should the government provide an incentive or grant for businesses to provide on-site childcare? Nearly 71% of Idahoans say yes, while 19% oppose the idea.

  • The majority of Idahoans have at least some worry about being able to pay the monthly bills: 21% say they always worry, 22.3% say they frequently worry, and 35.4% occasionally worry about making ends meet. Twenty-point-five say they never worry about it.

  • An overwhelming majority of Idahoans say they haven’t been a victim of any crime in the past year, 86.7%. Seven percent said they had been the victim of a property crime (like theft), and 2.8% said they had been a victim of a violent crime.

  • Eight out of ten Idahoans think sales tax on groceries should go away. Twelve percent opposed the idea, while 82.1% said yes, the tax should be ended.

  • The survey found that the top priority for the legislature should be education, followed by jobs/economy, housing, healthcare, taxes, the environment, and transportation.
Chart shows legislative priorities. Via Boise State School of Public Service

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Don Day - BoiseDev Editor & Founder
Don Day - BoiseDev Editor & Founder
Don is the founder and publisher of BoiseDev. He is a National Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Stanford University John S. Knight Fellow. Contact him at [email protected].

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