Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Eagle, spoke out sharply after Sen. Dean Cameron’s opening remarks at a legislative task force meeting this morning, objecting to Cameron’s statements that the task force can’t simply shift funding for state parks and the Idaho State Police to the general fund when the agencies lose gas tax funding in a year. “I am troubled by your statements,” Labrador told Cameron. “It sounds like you’ve already decided what we’re going to do, so I’m not sure what we’re doing here.” Cameron said, “I apologize that you’re troubled,” but said he was relying on the wording of the legislation that created the panel. It instructs the panel to identify “dedicated” funding, which Cameron, co-chair of the Legislature’s joint budget committee, noted is budgetary “vernacular” for money that doesn’t come from the state’s general fund.
“I’ll be the first to tell you that if we’re unsuccessful, that does put the pressure on the general fund,” Cameron told Labrador, adding that he sees it as the panel’s job to avoid that. “I have no preconceived notions as to where that alternative funding source should come from,” Cameron said. “You will hear a presentation from the state police on some ideas they have. … They haven’t been investigated fully yet.” Cameron said today’s meeting should “lay a foundation” for the panel’s deliberations. “Does that give you any further ease, representative?” he asked Labrador. “I will listen to the presentation,” Labrador responded.