U.S. Congressman Raul Labrador currently serves as a U.S. Congressman for Idaho. In 2015 he helped found the House Freedom Caucus and is now running for governor in the state of Idaho. Labrador joined Neal Larson and Julie Mason on KID Newsradio to talk about his bid for the Idaho governo’s seat and what he plans to do if elected.
You can listen to the full interview below:
Editor’s Note: This article is part of a series about gubernatorial candidates in Idaho’s 2018 election.
IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — In politics, it’s not uncommon to watch someone move higher and higher in rank within the government; but, Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador hopes to bring his work back to his home state.
As a U.S. Congressman, Labrador’s resume includes big ticket items like founding the House Freedom Caucus and serving on the Natural Resources and Judiciary committees and as chair on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security. But, Labrador says he’s got more work to do at home in the Gem state especially when it comes to Idaho’s tax code.
“The first thing I want to do is I want to reform Idaho’s outdated tax code,” U.S. Congressman Raul Labrador told KID Newsradio. “We have the most Republican legislature of any of our neighbors and yet, we have the highest taxes of any of our neigbors. So, I want to reduce our taxes to five percent.”
Labrador says he wants to institute what he’s calling the “5-5-5 Tax Plan,” which aims to bring taxes to an equal five percent for corporations and individuals and lower Idaho’s sales tax to five percent.
“I want to reduce those taxes so we can broaden the base, eliminate the loop holes that are in the code right now,” Labrador said. “What you have is a bunch of lobbyists and attorneys going to the legislature and saying, ‘You know, why don’t you do something for my business or for my industry,’ and some businesses and industries got some tax loop holes and the rest of us are paying higher taxes. I want everybody to be the same, I want to get rid of those loopholes in the tax code and make sure everyone has a tax deduction.”
But tax reform isn’t the only change Labrador has on his list of things he plans to do if elected. Labrador says it’s time to address education reform in a similar approach to his platform for economics.
“If you think about it, Idaho already spends about 60 percent of our budget on education,” Labrador said. “So, the question that I always ask people that are asking for more funding, ‘Do you think we should pay 65? Do you think we should pay 70? Do you think we should pay 80? Of course the answer is no…so, what we need to do is grow the economy. If you want to have higher wages for schools and teachers and education, then you just need to have higher wages in Idaho.”
Labrador advocates that higher wages will lead to people who pay more taxes and in turn increase the amount of revenue for the state to spend on things like a more robust budget for education.
“However, you need to be smart about it,” Labrador said. “One of the problems we have in education is that we a lot of mandates from the state…our State Board of Education and our State Legislature enacting mandates for the local schools as well and that costs money. So, that money goes into mid-level management, as opposed to going into the classroom.”
Labrador will face off with two other candidates, Tommy Alquist and Lt. Governor Brad Little in the primary election in May.