Idaho’s state budget challenges got tougher today, as lawmakers on a special joint committee rejected the governor’s estimate of tax revenue for next year and instead picked a figure $101 million lower. If that stands, lawmakers would have to cut another $101 million more beyond the steep budget cuts Gov. Butch Otter already is recommending for next year, or find the money elsewhere, by dipping deep into rainy-day funds or raising taxes. Sen. John Goedde, R-Coeur d’Alene, chairman of the special economic outlook/revenue assessment committee, noted that the panel heard two days of dismal economic news last week from Idaho industries, agencies and economists. “Based on the testimony that the committee received … we felt that the governor’s projections are over-optimistic,” Goedde said. The committee’s decision, which will go before the Legislature’s joint budget committee for consideration Friday morning, came as hundreds of disabled people, their family members and advocates from around the state converged on the Capitol Annex to protest budget cuts in services to the disabled. You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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