Otter’s first hint about the state budget he’s proposing for next year: He doesn’t want state government to grow as fast as “our economy and the people’s ability to pay for it.” Therefore, he said, his budget will call for a 3.1 percent increase in state general fund spending, though state economists are predicting a 5.3 percent increase in general fund tax revenue next year. Otter said that move reflects “our continuing need for caution and prudence in the collection and expenditure of the people’s hard-earned dollars.”
Details in the budget itself show that Otter is proposing a $2.786 billion general fund budget for fiscal year 2014, up $84 million from the original appropriation for the current year, 2013, of $2.702 billion. He’s proposing to add another $35 million to the state’s main rainy-day fund, the budget stabilization fund; set aside $20 million toward a phaseout or repeal of the personal property tax on business equipment; and a 2 percent, $25.6 million increase in the general fund budget for public schools.
The budget includes no base pay increase for state employees or teachers, other than for a small number of military division workers.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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