June 2, 2013 in Idaho

Eye on Boise: Fewer DUI arrests made over long weekend in Idaho this year

By The Spokesman-Review
 

BOISE – The Idaho State Police reported 31 DUI arrests statewide over last weekend’s Memorial Day holiday, from Friday night through early Tuesday morning. ISP also reported 23 crashes, including one fatality and five causing injuries. There were also 35 drug-related arrests, 28 of those misdemeanors and seven felonies. The stats are for ISP only and don’t include incidents handled by local law enforcement agencies.

So how does that compare to last year? Last year saw 39 DUI arrests, so that’s down, and 22 crashes including one fatality and five causing injuries, so that’s largely unchanged. The number of drug-related arrests, though, was up significantly – more than doubling. During last year’s Memorial Day weekend, ISP reported only 14, including nine misdemeanors and five felonies.

Secret author

A longtime CPA in Payette whose firm audited many school districts, cities and other government agencies was also secretly the author of “dozens of racist and anti-Semitic tracts” under the pseudonym Farnham O’Reilly, the Southern Poverty Law Center reports in the latest issue of its quarterly magazine, “Intelligence Report.”

The article titled “The Aryan Accountant,” by the group’s Intelligence Project director, Heidi Beirich, reports that Timothy Folke was a member of the white supremacist National Alliance. He espoused creating an “Aryan homeland” and started a website to entice like-minded folks to move to his area.

It also includes this rather startling editor’s note:

“In April, after this story was completed, Timothy Folke again contacted the Intelligence Report to say that he had ‘experienced the loss of my wife and family’ and had ‘withdrawn from all activities dealing with the public, as well as all aspects of my previous profession and business.’ His CPA firm’s website was taken down, as were his own website and some of his racist writings. The Report contacted his son, Kurt Folke, who said that his father had only informed his family of his ‘deeply disturbing’ secret life the previous weekend, and confirmed that his parents were divorcing and his father had ‘retired from the firm.’ His father, he said, ‘is out of the picture and out of our family and our lives.’ Kurt Folke added: ‘He needs to reflect on what he’s done. He’s going to retire and reflect on what he’s done.’ ”

Kurt Folke didn’t return a call seeking comment on the report. The article is posted online at splcenter.org.

Reserves filling up

Here’s a surprising turn of events: Idaho’s main rainy-day fund may be filled to its statutory cap by the end of the fiscal year. To do that, April’s strong state tax revenues would have to hold. The so-called Budget Stabilization Fund, by law, is capped at 5 percent of the state’s general-fund budget. Beyond that point, surpluses would just stay in the state’s general fund.

Legislative Budget Director Cathy Holland-Smith noted that HB 345, which was sought by the governor this year, directs all year-end surpluses beyond $20 million to the stabilization fund. That now looks like it’ll mean a $58.9 million transfer to the fund at the close of the fiscal year June 30.

The fund had a beginning balance at the start of this fiscal year of $23.8 million. It also will get a statutory transfer, by a formula based on state revenue growth, of $25.9 million. And then, at the start of the new fiscal year, the higher-than-expected revenues dictate another statutory transfer into the fund of $27.4 million. Add those up, and the fund will have $136 million in it. It only has $28 million more to go after that before hitting the cap, and more surpluses could materialize in May and June.

“We’re looking at almost filling up the budget stabilization fund at the end of 2013,” Holland-Smith said.

Meanwhile, the Public Education Stabilization Fund will have a projected $48.9 million at the close of the fiscal year. “So if things continue the way they are, we’ll have $184.9 million in those two reserve funds,” she told the Legislative Council late last week.

During the recession, Idaho drained nearly $400 million from its various reserve funds and the state Millennium Fund, dropping its reserves to near zero by 2011. Now, they’re building back up.

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