Among the questions from JFAC members to the governor’s budget chief, Wayne Hammon, this morning: What are the December revenue numbers? They’re not in yet, Hammon responded, but against the advice of the state’s chief economist, he shared the preliminary figures, noting that they’ll change. They show that December fell $13 million short of the latest, revised forecast. “I would point out, one month does not a forecast make,” Hammon said. “December was not as good as we anticipated.”
In other questioning, Reps. George Eskridge, R-Dover, and Wendy Jaquet, D-Ketchum, asked about the governor’s proposed elimination of the state parks department, the economic impact of park closures and the department’s possible merger with the Department of Lands; Rep. Janice McGeachin, R-Idaho Falls, asked about spending reserve funds (the governor would spend all but about $32 million by the end of 2011); Sen. Diane Bilyeu, D-Pocatello, questioned cuts to higher education; and Sen. Nicole LeFavour, D-Boise, questioned whether Idahoans really favor cuts to public schools, and asked if the governor understands “the degree of disrespect” to certain communities inherent in his proposal to eliminate state funding for agencies dealing with disabilities, Hispanic affairs and human rights. Hammon responded, “He’s aware of the challenges both real and perceived.”
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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