Rep. George Eskridge, R-Dover, proposed a budget for the Idaho Public Utilities Commission, which gets no state general funds, that largely matches the governor’s recommendation, but Eskridge trimmed out funding for six of 18 computers planned to be replaced, and for one chair and two desks. “I reduced the replacement items slightly, just slightly,” Eskridge said, “recognizing that the computers were a little bit ahead of their normal replacement scheduled … and those other items I left out … still had good serviceable life and seemed to be appropriate to keep.” Overall, the budget rises by 4.3 percent next year, mainly because of the addition of a pipeline safety inspector, funded largely by federal Department of Transportation funds.
Rep. Phylis King, D-Boise, proposed an alternative budget motion leaving the computers and furniture items in. “May I remind the committee this is all dedicated and federal funds,” King said, adding that the cost of the chair, for example, “seems to me that that’s a minimal amount.” Eskridge, defending his proposal, said, “This is still ratepayer money. … I think we need to be prudent in determining when those replacement items actually need to be replaced.”
King’s motion was defeated on a 5-15 vote; Eskridge’s then passed unanimously.