JFAC has voted unanimously, 20-0, to set a target for its appropriations for next year, fiscal year 2014, that’s 3 percent above 2013 appropriations, matching Gov. Butch Otter’s recommendations. That puts the total general fund spending target for next year at $2,783,010,200. “This is a ceiling,” said JFAC Co-Chair Maxine Bell, R-Jerome, who made the successful motion. “It cannot be any more – it can be less. But we need it in place to go forth.”
The Otter Administration forecasts that state general fund tax revenue next year will rise by 5.3 percent, but recommended spending just 3 percent. Bell said, “I believe that this is prudent. This will keep the core responsibilities of the state government in place, and it will not put us in a position where budgeting 18 months out like we do, that the (governor)… is going to be in a position about August to have to cut further.”
The figure takes into account several changes since the start of the legislative session, including the passage of the IRS conformity bill, which costs the state budget $6 million in the current year and $3 million in fiscal year 2014, and the “Hire One More Employee” act, which has passed the House and has a $10.4 million fiscal impact for next year. It also reflects decisions already made on supplemental appropriations for the current budget year.