There was good news and bad news on the financial front for the state Land Board this morning. On the positive side, the state made $8 million on timber harvests on state endowment lands in August, one of the highest August levels in the last several years, state Lands Director George Bacon told the board. “That’s good news,” he said. With private timber land owners reducing their harvests, some because their lands already have been cut over in recent years as less timber was cut on federal lands, state endowment lands are the last game in town. The August figure was up from less than $5 million in July; in September, it’s projected to rise to $8.7 million.
On the down side, there was the report on the endowment fund investments, the big fund whose earnings benefit public schools and other state institutions. August was “positive 0.3 percent,” reported Andy Potter of the endowment fund investment office. “Does that include yesterday?” Gov. Butch Otter responded. “No, it does not – yesterday was kind of a down day,” Potter said. “Kind of!” Otter retorted. As of Aug. 31, the state endowment fund stood at $1.1 billion, down 1.4 percent from the start of the fiscal year. But today, Potter reported, the fund is down 5.87 percent since the start of the fiscal year. Yesterday’s single-day loss: $25.7 million. However, he said, it could have been worse. “Our managers have performed very well.”
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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