Idaho's economic forecast calls for pain, the governor's chief economist says, even as state agencies struggle to meet budget cuts imposed earlier this month. After years of faring better than the nation, Idaho's economy is now looking at its worst outlook in a quarter-century, state economist Mike Ferguson said Friday. The bad economic news - including new figures out Friday showing that Idaho shattered its record for a single week's unemployment payouts over the past week - comes as numerous state agencies are ordering workers to take time off without pay and the state Department of Health and Welfare is cutting Medicaid payments by $35.2 million. Those cuts are to meet the 4 percent cutbacks in the current year's budget Gov. Butch Otter ordered this month, due to falling state revenues. The casualties include everything from 65 temporary workers at the state Tax Commission, who will lose their jobs the day after Christmas, to the annual state ceremony celebrating Martin Luther King Jr./Idaho Human Rights Day, which is falling to the budget knife at the state Human Rights Commission. You can read my full story here in today's Spokesman-Review.
News, happenings and more from the Idaho Legislature and the state capital.