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Eye On Boise

Mon., Feb. 9, 2009, 7:51 a.m.

$979k savings could lead to $7.5 mil loss…

This year's 4 percent holdbacks prompted the state Tax Commission to impose a hiring freeze on full-time positions, impose a mandatory two-day furlough on all but its lowest- paid workers, reduce wages for tax-season temporary employees, and eliminate 58 year-round temporary positions, workers who were let go on Dec. 26. Of those, 47 worked in audits and collections. The personnel cost reduction saved $979,000, but the potential loss of tax revenue is estimated at $7.5 million, Tax Commission Chairman Royce Chigbrow told lawmakers this morning. "The agency is taking steps to reduce loss," he reported. "It was preferable to eliminating full-time positions." Full-time employees are picking up additional duties, and Chigbrow said he was pleased to report that, "Thirty-six of the 58 have come back and worked temporarily during the tax drive. ... We get the advantage of their skills and experience for a few more months."

The Tax Commission also is planning not to fill 12 full-time positions in support, Chigbrow said, to cope with budget cuts. "We're 75 percent personnel," he said. At the same time, the commission is anticipating an additional 82,000 returns this year, mostly paper returns, as a result of the expansion of the grocery tax credit to non-filers who previously weren't eligible.

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Eye On Boise

Short takes and breaking news from the Idaho Legislature and the state capital.