Eye On Boise

Otter says he rejected some deeper cuts proposed by Idaho state agencies

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter announces new budget cuts on Friday. At left is state Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna. (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)
Idaho Gov. Butch Otter announces new budget cuts on Friday. At left is state Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna. (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)

There were even deeper cuts proposed by state agencies that Gov. Butch Otter rejected, when he put together the holdback plan he unveiled this morning, Otter told Eye on Boise. "Yes, yes," he said to the question, but he declined to give examples. "I'm not going to get into that," he said. "We said, 'No, we believe that's too critical to your mission.'" He noted that Corrections and Medicaid were held to some of the smallest cuts - 2.5 percent for corrections, and 3.3 percent for the state Department of Health & Welfare, including Medicaid. Both departments already had seen cuts; this year's state budget assumed zero growth in inmate population in Idaho's state prisons.

In fact, much of Idaho's state budget has seen major cutbacks over the past two years; this year's state general fund budget was set at a level $330 million below the budget from two years ago, and that was before today's holdback announcement. Otter said, "After much discussion with legislative leaders from both parties, with my cabinet, with other constitutional officers, I believe we now have a strategy to put in place for addressing this shortfall." He said his strategy is designed to set the stage for discussion about longer-term revisions to make "our government leaner and more focused on its core mission." His new holdbacks apply to general fund agencies, and not to those that are funded with dedicated or federal funds. The courts and the other constitutional officers have voluntarily agreed to join in the holdback, the governor said. Here's a link to my full story at spokesman.com on today's announcement.




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