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Eye On Boise archive for Jan. 1, 2010

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 13, 2010

December shortfall shrinks to $12.6M

The early, preliminary estimate of a $13 million shortfall in December's state tax revenues has now shrunk to $12.6 million, according to Gov. Butch Otter's budget chief, Wayne Hammon. "That's why we don't release it, because it always changes," he said. Yesterday, under questioning by...

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Legislative budget analyst Keith Bybee reports to legislative budget writers on furlough hours taken so far by state employees due to budget cuts. (Betsy Russell)

State furlough hours already adding up

In the last two fiscal years, the state has laid off 295 employees, according to a report legislative budget analyst Keith Bybee just presented to JFAC. That was 149 in fiscal year 2009, and 146 so far in the current year, fy 2010. (Bybee cautioned...

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TUESDAY, JAN. 12, 2010


Reactions and reactions to reactions... 

As reactions to Gov. Butch Otter's State of the State and budget message continue to ripple across the state, the Senate majority leadership this afternoon sent out a press release reacting to the House and Senate Democrats' comments at a press conference this morning in...

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Keith Allred, Democratic candidate for governor, in the Idaho state capitol on Monday (Betsy Russell)

Candidates tout fundraising numbers 

The deadline for filing campaign finance reports that cover the period through Dec. 31 hasn't yet arrived, but two candidates already are releasing numbers. Keith Allred, Democratic candidate for governor, announced today that in the three weeks since he filed his declaration of candidacy on...

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Legislative task force 'punted'

"At the end of the day, we punted," Rep. Maxine Bell, R-Jerome, co-chair of the Task Force to Identify Alternative Funding Sources for the Idaho State Police and Idaho Department of Parks & Recreation, told the Legislative Council. "We did not want to jump out...

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Rep. George Eskridge, R-Dover, reports to the Legislative Council on the work of the interim committee on Energy, Environment & Technology. Each of the Legislature's interim committees and task forces reported Tuesday on its work since last year's session.  (Betsy Russell)

Interim committees report back

Members of the Legislative Council are now hearing reports from each of the interim legislative committees and task forces, which have mostly modest agendas this year given the budget crisis. First up was Rep. George Eskridge, R-Dover, co-chairman of the Energy, Environment & Technology interim...

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Gov OK with H&W Friday furloughs

Gov. Butch Otter's not surprised to see Health & Welfare order Friday furloughs for hundreds of employees, his press secretary, Jon Hanian, told Eye on Boise. "We, I think, knew that there was going to be a mix of these type of measures, and obviously...

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Health & Welfare orders 'Friday furloughs' 

All Idaho Health & Welfare offices except state hospitals will close at noon every other Friday for the rest of the year, and the employees will be on furlough for those half-days. Notice of the move went out to all of the department's employees yesterday...

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House Minority Leader John Rusche, D-Lewiston, speaks at the House and Senate Democrats' response to Gov. Butch Otter's State of the State message and budget proposal. (Betsy Russell)

Democrats respond to State of the State

House and Senate Democrats gathered this morning to give their response to yesterday's State of the State message, calling proposed cuts to education short-sighted and saying they favor using all available resources to help bring the state out of the recession. "The current budget crisis...

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Rep. Maxine Bell, R-Jerome, co-chair of the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee (Betsy Russell)

Bell: IPTV deserves some state support

Rep. Shirley Ringo, D-Moscow, asked Wayne Hammon about the proposal to eliminate state funding for Idaho Public Television over the next four years, noting that three-quarters of IPTV's budget already comes from other sources. "We have used general fund money to give them seed money,...

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Wayne Hammon, Gov. Butch Otter's budget chief, addresses the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee on Tuesday morning. (Betsy Russell)

Hammon: 'Better to plan for worst'

In going over the governor's budget proposal, Wayne Hammon, the governor's budget chief, told JFAC that the governor thinks it's "regrettable" that he's proposing no pay raise for state employees. Legally required salaries for state elected officials remain in the budget. "The governor believes the...

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The first meeting of the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee on Tuesday drew a full house; the panel writes the state budget. (Betsy Russell)

Full house for first JFAC hearing this morning

There's a full house in JFAC this morning for the first meeting of the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee, the panel that writes the state budget. After some preliminaries, the joint committee is now hearing from Wayne Hammon, Gov. Butch Otter's budget chief, about the governor's budget...

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Interim committees to report today

From 2 to 4 p.m. today, all of the Legislature's interim committees and task forces will present reports on what they've come up with since last year's legislative session. The meeting will be in the JFAC room on the third floor; click here for the...

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MONDAY, JAN. 11, 2010

Gov. Butch Otter acknowledges business leaders in the balcony during his State of the State message to a joint session of the Idaho Legislature on Monday. (Betsy Russell)

A budget full of cuts... 

Gov. Butch Otter laid out a grim budget proposal for Idaho today, calling for cutting public education both this year and next, slashing 400 state jobs, phasing out state funding for Idaho Public TV over the next four years and more. Here's a link to...

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Allred: 'A message of decline and retreat' 

Keith Allred, former head of The Common Interest citizen group and now a Democratic candidate for governor, was in the Capitol rotunda after Gov. Butch Otter's State of the State address, and he was plenty critical. “Gov. Otter today delivered a message of decline and...

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Gov. Butch Otter fields questions from reporters in his office after his State of the State address to lawmakers. (Betsy Russell)

Guv fields questions after his speech 

Gov. Butch Otter, answering questions from reporters in his office after his State of the State message, acknowledged that he's set his proposed budget for next year at $83.4 million less than his economists expect from state tax revenues. "I just think that we've overguessed...

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Luna: Schools face difficult cuts

State Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna says Gov. Butch Otter's proposed budget for next year cuts $138 million out of public schools, on top of the $68 million that was cut this year. "That's $200 million over two years," Luna said. He said he'll try...

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Lawmakers applaud at the end of Gov. Butch Otter's State of the State message to a joint session of the Legislature. (Betsy Russell)

'Tough issues before us'

At the conclusion of Gov. Butch Otter's State of the State message, in which he called for a no-growth budget for next year, House Speaker Lawerence Denney responded, "Thank you, governor. We'll look forward to working with you to solve the tough issues that are...

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Guv to lawmakers: Make it short

"Legislative sessions have averaged 82 days over the past 20 years or so," the governor told lawmakers. "Last year factors beyond our control pushed us about 50 percent over that average. I'm sure you share my hope today that - by sticking to our principles...

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Some items Otter would fund...

Gov. Butch Otter called for funding to "handle the tremendous enrollment growth" at the College of Western Idaho; "fully funding our commitments to cooperative medical education programs;" continuing to invest in the Center for Advanced Energy Studies in Idaho Falls; and to provide $1 million...

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