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Eye On Boise

Dems: ‘A question of priorities’

Idaho’s legislative minority party says it’s unhappy with the governor’s holdback plan, but the Democrats, like Otter, also say they oppose raising taxes to cope with the state’s budget shortfall. Senate Minority Leader Kate Kelly, D-Boise, said the Dems would prefer to tap more of the state’s $274 million in reserves; Otter is only tapping the public schools portion of that, for $49.3 million, to protect schools from the holdbacks. Kelly noted that Idaho also has about $50 million in unspent federal stimulus funds that it’s saving to use in next year’s budget. “Sitting in a savings account, the money does not do us any good from an economic development standpoint and from a recovery standpoint,” Kelly said. The Democrats also oppose cutbacks in higher ed and Commerce during the current recession. “Higher ed is taking a bigger hit than the governor’s office or legislative services,” she said. “It really is a question of priorities.”

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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