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Eye On Boise

Thu., Jan. 24, 2013, 9 a.m.

Luna budget departs from statutory requirements…

JFAC Co-Chair Maxine Bell, R-Jerome, asked state schools Supt. Tom Luna about the seven or so places in his budget where his proposals depart from statutory requirements – which would mean either the laws must be changed, or JFAC would have to write in “notwithstanding” language to its budget, which she said is “the last thing we ever want to do.” Those range from a statutory requirement to fund the safe and drug-free schools program to a transportation funding formula from which Luna departs, as the state did this year, cutting millions; both of those account for big differences between Luna’s budget proposal and Gov. Butch Otter’s, as Otter stuck to the statutes. Bell asked, “Where are you with the policy committees on these law changes, and will they be in place by the time we go to work on this budget?”

Luna said, “That’s definitely my goal, is that the necessary laws and statutes would come to the germane committees and be well on their way … possibly to the governor’s signature before you set budgets, but I don’t drive that timeline.” Luna said one provision on which he doesn’t see that as necessary is the building maintenance match, because he’s proposing phasing back to the statutory level over two years. That would make the use of "notwithstanding" language in the budget appropriate for one more year on that item, he said.

David Hahn, a budget analyst for Gov. Otter's Division of Financial Management, noted that the governor's budget is essentially a budget based on the statutory requirements, plus the $33 million for stakeholder recommendations.

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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