Legislative budget writers are struggling with how they’re going to budget for a newly split-apart Commerce and Labor department – when the Otter Administration hasn’t even yet presented legislation to split the department into two agencies. House Appropriations Chair Maxine Bell, R-Jerome, told Otter’s budget analyst, Randy Tilley, this morning, “Mr. Tilley, we need the legislation in place before we can do the budgets.” Deadlines are looming, she noted – lawmakers are scheduled to start setting agency budgets next week. Tilley responded, “We’ve got the legislation in the governor’s office. … We expect to get that out probably in the next day or so.” Commented Bell, "We wouldn't mind if it stayed the way it was."
Budget writers had the same question when they came to the budget hearing for the state Division of Financial Management, which is scheduled to take in some of the major functions of the state Division of Human Resources and the Department of Administration, both of which Otter wants to disband. Brad Foltman, DFM administrator, said the legislation for the human resources changes is “over 90 pages,” and that’s the simple one. The Department of Administration legislation is “approximately 100 pages.” Those bills, he said, “should be before you in a couple of days.”