Eye On Boise

JFAC members: ‘Put a human face on our budget decisions’

JFAC members came away from this morning's hearing deeply moved by the testimony, and several said they anticipate budget changes as a result. "We can see now that perhaps some of those choices, there was a human element that needs to be addressed, to go back and look if we can do that," said Rep. Maxine Bell, R-Jerome, JFAC co-chair. Bell said she hopes to "go back now and try to pick up some of these frayed edges." She said, "I'm thinking what we do is pick up the places that we didn't quite fill our core responsibilities first ... and then perhaps, down the road, we'll be able to do some savings later on." Bell also said she was struck by concerns raised about state employee pay. "That is another issue of grave concern to us, the morale," she said. "We know we've asked them to do more with less, they've had furloughs. ... That's something that we need to take a serious look at this year."

Sen. Joyce Broadsword, R-Sagle, said of today's testimony, "It's reflective of the things I've been hearing throughout the year. ... I think there's three or four areas that are really important to look at, and I'm hopeful was can find some funding to restore at least some of them." She mentioned dental coverage for Medicaid recipients, a suicide hotline, and limits on therapy hours, especially for children, among top concerns.

Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, JFAC's Senate vice-chair, said, "I think it's important that we hear from folks whose lives have been impacted by the decisions that we've made. ...  It helps to put a human face on our budget decisions."

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Russell covers Idaho news from the state capitol in Boise and writes the Eye on Boise blog.

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