Gov. Dirk Kempthorne’s community college initiative raised all kinds of questions in JFAC this morning, to the point that at the end of the hearing, Senate Finance Chairman Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, said, “I don’t feel like we’ve even scratched the surface yet.” Much more discussion is needed, Cameron said, to determine “both philosophically and financially where we’re going – if we’re going anywhere with this.”
Several members of the joint budget committee objected to the idea of state-funded community college services for some parts of the state, while the areas around the two existing community colleges pay local property taxes to help support them. “I believe that’s unfair,” said Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint.
David Lehmann, the governor’s policy director, wasn’t fazed by the hostile reception. “Naturally they’re going to have questions,” he said. “We’re proposing something that people have been talking about for years. … Clearly there’s some more discussion that needs to take place.”