BOISE — Reclaim Idaho volunteers formed a human chain from the Capitol steps to the Idaho Secretary of State’s office on Wednesday to pass 44 colorful school backpacks, hand to hand, containing the verified petitions from each of Idaho’s 44 counties to qualify the group’s school funding initiative for the ballot.

The initiative, dubbed the Quality Education Act, would increase corporate and personal income taxes on the wealthiest taxpayers to raise hundreds of millions in additional funding for Idaho schools, with the aim of pulling Idaho out of last place in the country for per-pupil school spending. That’s the opposite direction Idaho lawmakers have been moving in recent years; they’ve passed record corporate and personal income tax cuts in each of the past two legislative sessions, reducing state tax revenues by hundreds of millions of dollars.

Reclaim Idaho signatures

Reclaim Idaho supporters gather for a rally on the steps of the state Capitol, Wednesday, July 6, 2022.

Reclaim Idaho signatures

Reclaim Idaho supporters gather for a rally on the steps of the state Capitol, Wednesday, July 6, 2022.

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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