Idaho’s senior U.S. Senator, Mike Crapo, addressed the Senate and House today, and was held up for about 10 minutes in the Senate as that chamber wrapped up a hot debate on sewage rules. “I think I just interrupted a debate on septic tanks,” Crapo said as he opened his remarks to the Senate. “I think we had that debate when I was here. … It’s nice to see that some things don’t change.” Crapo is not only a former state senator, but former Senate president pro-tem.
He offered lawmakers what he called a bit of unsolicited advice about the upcoming federal stimulus funds. “You are going to now be faced with an interesting job, as somewhere between $600 million and a billion dollars of this bill will flow into Idaho, a lot of it flowing into programs that you administer as policy makers in the state. One of the big concerns that a lot of us have with this bill is that the increases in a number of these programs will be built right into the federal base and into the base of the states, so that we actually, instead of starting out the next fiscal cycle with a $1.2 trillion deficit, we will have a deficit that starts growing unbelievably large.
“I just encourage you, as you deal with this largesse that is going to be coming your way in terms of the stimulative dollars, that you pay very close attention to what it will do to your base in your budget here in the state,” Crapo told the Senate. “I’m not telling you what to do with it or how to handle it. What I’m saying is … I don’t think it can last forever.” He added, “I know that you didn’t necessarily solicit that advice and I know it’s not going to be easy as you deal with these issues, but I strongly encourage you to be very careful as you implement the utilization of these dollars as they move into the state coffers.”