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Eye On Boise

Otter says he’ll keep low-balling state budgets

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter is promising more of the same from his administration: tight budgeting that may underestimate state revenues, forcing budget cuts that later prove unnecessary, to avoid mid-year holdbacks. That approach attracted criticism this year after Otter and state lawmakers discounted economic forecasts and set the state budget tens of millions of dollars lower than estimated revenues, then ended the fiscal year June 30 with a fat surplus, most of which was doled back out to make up budget cuts to schools.

“You can expect the same thing the remainder of my time in office,” Otter declared last week in a talk at a luncheon sponsored by the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce and attended by more than 400 people. “The future budgets that we’ll have in the state are going to not look an awful lot unlike budgets that we’ve had the last three and a half years,” Otter said. “We’re still going to be conservative. We’re still going to work at institutionalizing a lot of the changes that we made during this economic downturn.” You can read my full Sunday column here.

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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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