Back in August, the governor’s Division of Financial Management estimated that state tax revenues would be down 4.9 percent from last year, a significant drop – but now the figure’s larger. State chief economist Mike Ferguson would only say yesterday that it’s worse; revised revenue estimates haven’t yet been released, but they’re low enough to prompt Gov. Butch Otter to order budget cuts totaling 4 percent so far, with another 2 percent held in reserve. Today, new state legislators, as they were being briefed on how the state budget process works, got a glimpse into the figures. Legislative budget office chief Cathy Holland-Smith stressed that this is nothing but her prognostication on where the figures may end up, but she’s estimating revenues will be down between 7.7 and 8 percent. Idaho’s biggest budget drop in recent memory was a 14.3 percent decline in general fund revenues in 2002.
Short takes and breaking news from the Idaho Legislature and the state capital.