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Eye On Boise

‘Would have to focus on more populated part of state’

The governor’s proposed budget for Idaho Public TV for next year is just $1.1 million in state general funds, down from $1.66 million this year. That’s a reduction of $550,700, “or minus 33 percent,” IPTV General Manager Peter Morrill told lawmakers. The governor proposes a four-year phaseout of all general funds.

Rep. George Eskridge, R-Dover, said, “I’ve been getting a lot of input from a lot of sources on the proposed cuts. My question would be, if this cut goes through, the loss of general funds … what’s the impact on districts like mine that’s for the most part rural?” Morrill responded that the state funding, about 25 percent of IPTV’s budget, goes to “the maintenance of that statewide delivery system.” That’s the toughest kind of funding to replace, Morrill said, because it’s easier to raise money for a specific TV show than for equipment to extend service to far-flung, sparsely populated areas. As a result, he said, IPTV would need to move from a public-service model to a more market-driven model. “We would have to focus on really our service to the more populated part of the state,” Morrill said.

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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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