Eye On Boise

Lawmakers troll for more savings

Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa addresses legislative budget writers, 1/16/09 (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)
Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa addresses legislative budget writers, 1/16/09 (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)

Legislative budget writers grilled several state officials this morning to see if they can find more ways to cut their budgets. State Treasurer Ron Crane, state Controller Donna Jones and Secretary of State Ben Ysursa said they're already trimming back, and Crane and Ysursa noted the small size of their agencies. Ysursa said his staff is down from 31 to 30. "We have historically been a very frugal agency," he said. His office is turning back $350,000 this year because there were no constitutional amendments or initiatives on the ballot, so it saved on printing costs. They'll also delay printing the Idaho Blue Book, a statutory requirement, and just publish it online instead until there's more money. That'll save $50,000 next year. "When things turn around, and they will, we'll do a hard copy and print out some books," Ysursa told JFAC. "We watch our money very closely," he said, and noted, "If cuts continue, we have nowhere to go but to people."

Ysursa used a walker to approach the podium, and joked, "Who's counting, but 31 days ago I had a knee replacement surgery on my right knee to balance the one on my left knee. The only thing left to do now is a lobotomy." He noted that it's been an "interesting week" between the legislative and executive branches, and said, "I offer you an olive branch from the executive branch - we will get through this together."




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