ADVERTISEMENT
Advertise Here
Archive

Eye On Boise

First hearing opens in renovated Statehouse

The first legislative hearing in the newly renovated state capitol has opened, with the Joint Legislative Economic Outlook and Revenue Assessment Committee taking testimony on the state of Idaho’s economy, to help lawmakers decide where to set the state budget for next year. “Everyone’s rather speechless - it’s very impressive,” said committee co-chairman Rep. Cliff Bayer, R-Boise, as the hearing began in one of the spacious, dark wood-trimmed hearing rooms in the newly completed underground Statehouse wings - a big contrast to last year’s cramped meetings in the old Ada County courthouse building. Said Bayer, “It’s a challenging proposal that lies in front of us … a very formidable budget year.”

The first to speak was state Department of Labor chief research officer Bob Uhlenkott, filling in for a missing Bob Fick, who recently suffered a heart attack while visiting relatives and was unable to return to Boise in time. Uhlenkott’s news was mostly grim: The number of Idahoans working now is the lowest since February of 2002, and record numbers of unemployed people have forced both increases in unemployment taxes and cuts in benefits, which are dropping to mid-2006 levels. As of Jan. 4, Idaho had borrowed more than $108 million from the feds to continue paying unemployment benefits, and Labor expects that figure to rise to nearly $190 million by mid-2011.

“As a lagging indicator, we anticipate Idaho’s unemployment rate may continue rising slightly in the coming months, leveling off in the 8-9 percent range by the end of the second or third quarter of 2010 before beginning a slow descent and staying in the 8 percent range through mid-2011,” Uhlenkott told the lawmakers.


Please keep it civil. Don't post comments that are obscene, defamatory, threatening, off-topic, an infringement of copyright or an invasion of privacy. Read our forum standards and community guidelines.

You must be logged in to post comments. Please log in here or click the comment box below for options.

comments powered by Disqus
« Back to Eye On Boise

Get blog updates by email

About this blog

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

Latest comments »

Read all the posts from recent conversations on Eye On Boise.

Search this blog
Subscribe to this blog
ADVERTISEMENT
Advertise Here