The Legislature’s joint revenue committee has adopted Gov. Butch Otter’s revenue forecast for next year, after learning that the median of estimates from committee members – after two days of hearings last week with public testimony from economists, business representatives and more – came in just $4.3 million below Otter’s number. The only dissenting votes came from Sen. Dan Schmidt, D-Moscow, who moved to adopt the committee median instead; Rep. Christy Perry, R-Nampa, who seconded Schmidt’s motion; and Rep. Mat Erpelding, D-Boise. Senate President Pro-Tem Brent Hill, R-Rexburg, moved to adopt the governor’s figure. “I’m comfortable with it because the governor, in his budget, is not spending the full amount,” Hill said afterward.
Schmidt said last year, he made the motion to adopt the governor’s figure. “Last year we had a huge range, our committee was all over,” he said after the vote. But this year, committee members were largely on the same page. “I thought it was respecting the committee process,” he said of his motion. “We did all this work, we listened.” He added, “It doesn’t really make that much difference, because they’re almost the same number. I thought we did good work this year – we’ll see.”