Idaho’s rainy day funds bouncing back after Great Recession

Apr 20th, 2017 | By | Category: Government
A bicyclist rides in front of the Idaho Capitol in Boise, Idaho, on Sunday, June 29, 2014. (AP Photo/Rachel La Corte)

A bicyclist rides in front of the Idaho Capitol in Boise, Idaho, on Sunday, June 29, 2014. (AP Photo/Rachel La Corte)

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho’s rainy day funds have made a modest recovery after being drained during the Great Recession, but they still fall short of the financial cushion the state had built up before the economic crisis.

Idaho’s reserves peaked at record levels of more than $400 million in 2006, just before the recession. According to a study released this week by the Pew Charitable Trusts, those reserves were around $310 million as of the end of fiscal year 2016.

That means Idaho could fund its state agencies, pay public employees and provide other critical state services for 37 days using its reserves alone. Ten years prior, Idaho could function on its reserves for 67 days. The current national median is roughly 35 days.

States build up reserves to help manage budget uncertainties, as well as prevent spending cuts or tax increases. During the Great Recession, Idaho’s rainy day funds helped fill budgets while state revenues plummeted.

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