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Eye On Boise

Thu., Jan. 15, 2009, 7:59 a.m.

Unanimous vote to make holdbacks permanent

Some of the 'aye' votes sounded reluctant, but JFAC has voted unanimously to make the governor's 4 percent holdbacks in this year's state budget permanent. "We find ourselves in this situation," said Senate Finance Chairman Dean Cameron, R-Rupert. "I guess we can only hope and pray that it doesn't get worse before it gets better." A single bill, which now must pass both houses, amends the budget for agencies across state government to reflect the mid-year cutback. "Our action is necessary in order to make sure that we meet the Constitution, and balance our budget as required by the Constitution," Cameron said.

The joint budget committee also voted unanimously to trim health insurance costs by using more from health insurance reserves; that change doesn't change benefits to employees.  "It does not affect their benefits at all, it's only a calculation as to the cost of those benefits," Cameron said. That change, the budget revisions, and various fund transfers all will go into one omnibus bill that makes the holdbacks permanent. It must pass both houses and receive the governor's signature to become law.

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Eye On Boise

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