More tight state agency budgets were set this morning for the department of Juvenile Corrections and the Idaho State Police. Approved on unanimous votes in the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee,, the budgets generally match Gov. Butch Otter’s recommendations. For juvenile corrections, legislative budget writers approved the governor’s plan to add seven direct care staffers at the St. Anthony juvenile lockup, half of the department’s request; the department’s budget for next year would show a 2 percent increase in state general funds. For ISP, due to shifts between various funds from which the state’s been borrowing during its years of budget cuts, there’s a 26.5 percent boost in state general funds, but a cut in other funds, for a total decline of 0.9 percent in overall funding.
The ISP budget pays back the “Project Choice” fund that comes from a $3 surcharge on vehicle registration fees and was supposed to fund a career ladder and salary increases for state troopers, but doesn’t authorize any boosts along those lines next year. ISP can use any salary savings in its budget for raises, said JFAC Vice Chair Darrell Bolz, R-Caldwell. “We’re treating ‘em just like any other agency.” The ISP budget does cover replacement costs for 76 vehicles, after cutbacks in recent years have left some state police vehicles on the road with more than 100,000 miles on them.