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JFAC endorses doubling cap on state’s rainy-day savings account

Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee meets on Tuesday morning (Betsy Russell)
Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee meets on Tuesday morning (Betsy Russell)

The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee has voted 19-0 this morning to increase the cap on the state’s main rainy-day savings account, the Budget Stabilization Fund, from 5 percent of the general fund to 10 percent. “I’m pleased that we can do this, and it’s the right thing to do,” said JFAC Co-Chair Rep. Maxine Bell, R-Jerome. “We’re in a position to be more prudent with our savings now.”

Gov. Butch Otter had recommended the move, as the savings fund was bumping up against its cap. Otter’s budget chief, Jani Revier, told JFAC, “The governor is very supportive of this legislation and is pleased the committee is considering it today.”

Last July 1, the budget stabilization fund had a balance of $135.1 million. After its scheduled, statutory transfers in fiscal year 2014 of $2.4 million, it will hit the current cap, at $137.5 million. In fiscal year 2015, the new cap would rise to $275 million, which would allow the state to double its savings set aside in the fund. JFAC’s action today approves legislation to double the cap, which now needs passage in the full House and Senate and the governor’s signature to become law.

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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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