The state’s Permanent Building Fund budget for next year won unanimous approval in the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee this morning, though the panel didn’t address Gov. Butch Otter’s recommendation to transfer $15 million from the state general fund to the building account for alterations and repairs; that will be taken up later, along with end-of-session decisions about deposits to rainy-day funds and the like.
The building budget includes seven capital projects: $1 million for the fifth and final year of rehab to the Capitol Annex next year to make it ready for occupancy; $2.5 million for the second and final phase of construction of the Research & Innovation Center at the University of Idaho; $80,000 for design costs only for a wildlife research lab for the Department of Fish & Game to replace UI lab facilities that will no longer be available in two years; $4.6 million to complete an $8.5 million remodel and expansion of the Idaho State Historical Museum, a project that also will include privately raised funds; $600,000 for the design phase of a $6 million ISP facility on ITD land in Pocatello; $722,500 to match federal funds to renovate an armory in Mountain Home; and $1.1 million for the Bioskills Learning Center at Idaho State University. All but the ISU project were included in the governor’s budget recommendation.
The Permanent Building Fund budget is for construction and maintenance costs for state buildings, including those at universities and community colleges; an advisory council reviews and recommends projects to the governor and Legislature. In addition to general fund appropriations, the fund has its own specific sources of revenue: A $10 “head tax” charged per person on Idaho income tax returns; $5 million a year from sales taxes; a portion of cigarette tax collections; a portion of the tax on beer; a portion of state lottery earnings; interest on the fund; and interest earned by the Budget Stabilization Account, the state’s main rainy-day fund.