Latest from The Spokesman-Review
Gov. Butch Otter has appointed Julie DeLorenzo, a Boise Realtor and Democrat, to the Idaho Transportation Board to replace Darrell Manning. Click below for Gov. Butch Otter's full announcement. DeLorenzo is the second woman Otter has appointed to the previously all-male board; she joins Jan Vassar of Lewiston.
While Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was in Ohio battling for a win there, Idaho Gov. Butch Otter visited Coeur d'Alene to stump for Romney ahead of today's Idaho caucus. Otter on Monday laid out the reasons for his endorsing Romney to a crowd of nearly 100 people at The Coeur d'Alene Resort. He said Romney is the best candidate because of his experience turning around the Salt Lake City Olympics, his performance as governor of Massachusetts and his business background. Otter said he's also most capable of beating President Barack Obama in the general election. He said Romney cut taxes in Massachusetts 19 times, and he vetoed more than 800 bills. Romney left the state with a surplus of $2 billion at the end of his governorship/David Cole, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (AP file photo: Mitt Romney and Butch Otter take part in a campaign stop in Boise Feb. 17)
Question: Anyone attend the Romney rally? Impression?
Gov. Butch Otter will be in Coeur d'Alene at 5:15 p.m. Monday for a meet-and-greet sponsored by the Romney campaign on the eve of Idaho's Super Tuesday caucus, according to a news release from the Romney campaign. The free event is at the Coeur d’Alene Resort. Meanwhile, Ron Paul touted endorsements from GOP state Reps. Pete Neilsen, R-Mountain Home, Lenore Barrett, R-Challis, and Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, in a weekend news release. Also backing Paul are Mullan City Councilman Chuck Reitz, who is Shoshone County GOP Chairman, and Boise County GOP Chairman John Blattler/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.
Question (for those who attend rally): How was it?
It's good for you when Idaho Republicans cut $35.7 million from the tax burden borne by the state's corporations and richest citizens. At least, that's what they say. "It lowers taxes in the state of Idaho, it makes Idaho more competitive with its surrounding states," said House Majority Leader Mike Moyle, R-Star, who is co-sponsoring this measure with Gov. C.L. (Butch) Otter. Speaking to the House tax committee Tuesday, Moyle promised lowering taxes at the top tier would make "Idaho known on the map and sends the world a message that Idaho is open to do business. While I don't think it's enough, I think it's a step in the right direction, and it's probably the best economic development bill we've seen all year."In other words, if the rich pay less in taxes, they'll invest more. That way, everybody else in Idaho will prosper. Just one thing: It doesn't work/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: It's hard to imagine that the Idaho Legislature would squander $36 million to provide a tax cut for the most prosperous Idahoans rather than use the money to restore draconian tax cuts of the last few years. What say you?
Gov. Butch Otter will be in Coeur d'Alene on Monday, the eve of Super Tuesday, for a meet and greet hosted by the Idaho campaign team for Mitt Romney. The event takes place from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Coeur d'Alene Resort. There is an online form to sign up to attend. It can be found on Romney's campaign website. Otter is co-chair of Romney's statewide steering committee/Coeur d'Alene Press.
CDAJim: I think there is some confusion regarding whether Mitt will or will not be in CdA today. KXLY TV just had a report that Mitt will be here along with Butch, but I think Mitt will be campaigning in Ohio today and in Mass. tomorrow.
Question: Would you rather see Mitt Romney in person in Coeur d'Alene today — or Gov. Butch Otter serving as a stand-in?
Gov. Butch Otter has named a new head for his Office of Drug Policy: Elisha Figueroa, who now is project director for the Mayor's Anti-Drug Coalition for the City of Meridian. Click below for Otter's full announcement.
A $36 million tax cut for Idaho’s top earners is roaring through the Idaho Legislature, backed by Gov. Butch Otter and co-sponsored by a majority of the members of the Idaho House. The move comes even as Idaho’s reeling from three years of deep budget cuts to everything from schools to Medicaid, very few of which are being restored. “The governor has recommended that we not collect this money, that we’re collecting too much,” said Rep. Marv Hagedorn (pictured), R-Meridian, one of the bill’s 40 house co-sponsors; the Idaho House has 70 members. “It’s probably the best economic development bill we’ve seen all year,” declared House Majority Leader Mike Moyle, HB 563’s lead sponsor. The bill passed the House on a 49-20 vote today and now heads to the Senate/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.
Question: I can think of far better use for a budget surplus than tax cut for Idaho's top earners, can't you?
Good morning and welcome to the 2012 Marie Antoinette awards. This year's grand prize winners: Idaho Gov. C. L. (Butch) Otter and House Majority Leader Mike Moyle, R-Star. And while Antoinette may or may not have famously looked down upon the starving masses of French citizens and declared: "Let them eat cake," it is certainly more artful than the two-word retort Otter and Moyle may have in store for Idaho's neediest, its injured and its broken: Too bad. Too bad the state went broke a year ago and had to hack away at Medicaid services for Idaho's most vulnerable adults. To save $35 million in state dollars, Idaho had to sacrifice another $60 million in matching federal dollars. Too bad that meant less support for developmentally disabled adults struggling to live and work independently. Too bad the state would devote less effort to helping the mentally ill maintain their equilibrium and their safety. Too bad it meant no preventive dental care, vision or audiology services/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Do you think Butch Otter intentionally low-balled revenue estimates last year as part of an agenda to slash state Medicaid funding?
Former state Rep. Jim Kempton, R-Albion, has been named to the Idaho Transportation Board by Gov. Butch Otter, to replace Gary Blick as the Region 4 member on the board. Click below for Otter's full announcement.
Gov. Butch Otter has signed HB 404a into law, emergency legislation that bans camping on certain state land and effectively evicts the Occupy Boise encampment from state property across from the Capitol. “I will be communicating with the leadership and attorney from 'Occupy Boise' to let them know that I have received and signed the bill,” Otter said in his signing statement, “and to provide that they have a deadline of 5 PM on Monday to vacate the impacted state properties”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.
Question: Are you glad Occupy Boise is finally getting boot from Capitol area?
Susan Kiebert did Gov. Butch Otter a favor Monday by swiftly leaving the Idaho Judicial Council, the panel that vets judicial appointments and investigates complaints against judges. “I don’t want this hanging in the air,” Kiebert told me. Kiebert said she was surprised to learn that her 1995 federal conviction for making false statements remained on her record. She said she assumed it was expunged after she completed probation, paid a fine and restitution. “I would never have put myself through this, nor would I have put Gov. Otter or Sen. (Denton) Darrington through this,” she said. Darrington, R-Declo, chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee and postponed Monday afternoon’s confirmation vote on the October appointment after I told him about the conviction. “You expect the highest degree of ethics when you’re on the Judicial Council sitting on potential discipline of judges and appointment of judges,” he said. Four hours later, Kiebert gracefully resigned. But Otter, who also appointed Kiebert’s husband, Kermit, to the Department of Environmental Quality Board, was mum/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.
Question: Wouldn't you think that a cursory vetting of the Kiebert nomination would have caught this problem?
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Denton Darrington (pictured) pulled the nomination of Susan Kiebert from the committee agenda Monday after consulting with Gov. Butch Otter. Otter appointed Kiebert to the Idaho Judicial Councillast year and she has been serving, pending Senate confirmation. The council screens applicants for state district court judge, the Idaho Court of Appeals and Idaho Supreme Court, and makes nominations to the governor. The panel also investigates complaints against judges. Darrington, R-Declo, did not announce the reason for the delay. But shortly before his committee met to consider sending the nomination to the full Senate, he met with Otter and informed him he was delaying the vote. Darrington and Otter both said they were unaware that Kiebert had been convicted of making false statements by a federal jury in Pocatello in 1995/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.
Question: Who goofed up here?
California Gov. Jerry Brown has a lot on his plate. His budget is in crisis.The housing crunch hit California hard. Unemployment is in the double-digits. Call in Doc Otter. Speaking to the Idaho Credit Union League Government Affairs Conference at Boise earlier this month, Idaho Gov. C.L. (Butch) Otter volunteered that a California lawmaker marveled at Idaho's balanced budget. What advice would Otter offer, this lawmaker asked. "And I said, 'Listen, I was born in a family of nine kids in Caldwell, Idaho, and I have lived on farms and ranches and raised horses all my life,' " Otter said. "And I would tell you without any equivocation whatsoever, that if California were my horse, I would shoot it. … I would put it down. Obviously easier said than done' "/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here. (AP file photo)
Question: If Idaho was a horse, what would you do with it?
GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum’s call to sell or transfer federally owned public lands Tuesday night in Boise earned him several rounds of applause. But Idaho Gov. Butch Otter found in 2005 that while Idahoans don’t like how federal lands are managed, they don’t want to lose access to the places they hunt, fish and camp. President Herbert Hoover and former Interior Secretary James Watt learned similar lessons in their times. But Santorum’s detailed proposal on an issue close to the heart of Westerners may help set him apart from Republican Mitt Romney in the March 6 Republican caucus, which is expected to attract the most devoted party members/Rocky Barker, Statesman. More here.
Question: Mark me down as solidly opposed to this idea. How about you?
To the best of our knowledge, Gov. Butch Otter has not yet taken out a newspaper classified ad, offering a free pack of wolves to a good home. Nor has the governor shown up along the shoulder of Interstate 84 at the Idaho-Oregon line, a cardboard box of wolf pups in tow. Otter is a trifle too sophisticated for that. But unfortunately, he’s not above sending a sophomoric and pointless letter to his counterpart, Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber. Otter said Kitzhaber could have 150 of Idaho’s wolves — or as many of the predators as Oregon wants. Otter made his “offer” after an Idaho hunter killed a wolf that had strayed over the border from Oregon. It goes without saying that this sort of showboating plays to the anti-wolf crowd. But it should also go without saying that Otter is supposed to govern on behalf of all Idahoans — including those who, unlike Otter, actually supported the reintroduction of wolves in the Central Idaho wilderness/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here.
Question: Do you see Gov. Otter as careless or fun-loving re: his tongue-in-cheek, anti-wolf letter to Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber?
Monday's news of a new Pew Research Center poll putting Rick Santorum ahead of Mitt Romney among GOP voters and Tuesday's visit by Santorum to Coeur d'Alene and Boise brought out Idaho's big guns to shore up a state that Romney is heavily favored to win. The Romney campaign sent reporters notices of a conference call with Romney's Idaho co-chairs, Gov. Butch Otter and U.S. Sen. Jim Risch Monday night and Tuesday morning. Otter and Jim Risch will "discuss their support" for Romney and "why Mitt Romney is the right choice for Idaho," the campaign said. The call is scheduled for 11 a.m. MST. Romney will hold $2,500 and $1,000 per person fundraisers in Boise Friday. He has yet to announce a public event, but is expected to do so/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here. (Butch Otter and wife, Lori, applaud Mitt Romney at Elko, Nev., rally Feb. 3)
Question: Does Santorum's visit to Coeur d'Alene make you more apt to vote for him than Romney, who is supported by the Powers That Be in the state of Idaho?
Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter has offered to send Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber 150 wolves, saying his own state has a few of the predators to spare. Monday's offer came in a tongue-in-cheek letter where Otter sarcastically apologized to Kitzhaber after an Idaho hunter killed a wolf from an Oregon pack that strayed across Idaho's border to the east. On Feb. 2, the Idaho hunter killed a brother of an Oregon wolf that became a celebrity by wandering hundreds of miles into Northern California seeking a mate/AP. More here.
Question: Do you wish Idaho really could send Oregon 150 wolves?
Those supporting repeal of the Luna/Otter Educational “Reform” package in general, and the Idaho Education Association, in particular, might want to take note of comments and attitudes gleaned from a recent sit down with three teachers at St. Maries High School. The comments not surprisingly reflected a similar earlier sit down with a teacher in the Challis School District. All four said without hesitation they intended to vote to repeal the three items on the ballot in November. Like many they are offended by the lack of due process alone. In their eyes it was a betrayal of trust for Governor Otter and State Superintendent Luna to have campaigned for re-election in 2010 and not to have said word one to any involved in education about what they were planning to introduce a scant seven weeks later when the 2011 Legislature convened/Chris Carlson, The Carlson Chronicles. More here.
Question: Have you made up your mind re: how to vote on the anti-Luna referendums this fall?
Idaho Gov. Butch Otter and First Lady Lori Otter issued the following statement on the death today of Micron Technology CEO Steve Appleton:
“Idaho has lost a true champion, a great friend, and a visionary businessman. Steve was someone who understood the value as well as the cost of excellence. He lived life to the fullest, and while he enjoyed great success in business and in life, he never lost his intensity or his drive. Our hearts go out to his wife Dalynn and the rest of his family – including his extended family at Micron Technology and the many lives he touched throughout the world.”
In his weekly column for the St. Maries Gazette Record and Randy Stapilus's Ridenbaugh Press, Chris Carlson comments that Idaho Democrats may have a long-shot chance to win back the governor's seat, if Butch Otter runs for a third term. Quoth: "Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter says he will seek a third term. Good! With the way he is “mailing it in” that may provide Democrats with the first real opportunity to occupy the executive chair since then Attorney General Larry Echohawk lost to Phil Batt in 1994." Here's the 5 Democrats Chris views as best candidates to run against Otter:
- 1. Rep. Brian Cronin
- 2. Sen. Michelle Stennett
- 3. Boise Mayor Dave Bieter
- 4. Doug Siddoway
- 5. Keith Allred
- More here
Question: Which Democrat would you like to see run against another re-election bid by Gov. Butch Otter?
Gov. Butch Otter has accelerated his campaign fundraising and used $50,000 of the cash to pay down $206,000 in loans he made to his 2010 re-election effort. Otter, who said at a December fundraiser that he will seek a third term in 2014, garnered about 70 percent of the money from corporate contributors who do business with the state or lobby state officials. Otter filed his Sunshine Report for July to December shortly before 5 p.m. Tuesday. Otter raised $124,941, well above his pace in the first six months of 2011, when he raised $48,103. His campaign still owes the governor $156,000 and has $56,177 in cash. That's up from a cash balance of $10,044 in June/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.
Question: What do you think? Did Otter announce he'll run again in two years to raise campaign cash to pay himself back? Or is he really going to run in two years?
Idaho Gov. Butch Otter raised $124,941 for his re-election campaign from July to December, Idaho Statesman reporter Dan Popkey reports today, and used $50,000 of it to pay himself back for loans he made to his 2010 gubernatorial campaign. Popkey reports that most of Otter's fundraising came from corporate contributors who do business with the state or lobby state officials; you can read his full post here.
Republican Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter has enlisted a former Democratic political operative to help develop his strategy for fighting to preserve new education laws that weaken teacher negotiating power and emphasize online learning. The governor has vowed publicly to do everything in his power to guarantee the measures aren't rejected by voters in November. The battle over the reforms deeply divided Republicans and Democrats during the 2011 session. Now, Otter's staff has brought on John Foster to serve as an informal adviser leading up to the referendum. The decision, which Foster confirmed Tuesday, may surprise some/AP. More here.
DFO: Sisyphus had this one right, 24 hours before Foster acknowledge here.
Question: Wonder what the Dems think of Foster now?
Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Republican Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter has enlisted a former Democratic political operative to help develop his strategy for fighting to preserve new education laws that weaken teacher negotiating power and emphasize online learning. The governor has vowed publicly to do everything in his power to guarantee the measures aren't rejected by voters in November. The battle over the reforms deeply divided Republicans and Democrats during the 2011 session. Now, Otter's staff has brought on John Foster to serve as an informal adviser leading up to the referendum. The decision, which Foster confirmed Tuesday, may surprise some. Foster is a past executive director of the Idaho Democratic Party and was campaign manager for former Democratic U.S. Rep. Walt Minnick. Foster says the education reforms aren't about partisan politics, but about improving schools. Click below for a full report from AP reporter Jessie Bonner; you can read Idaho Statesman columnist Dan Popkey's column about the the move here.
Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter backs taxing Internet sales to level the playing field between virtual businesses and brick-and-mortar establishments on Idaho's Main Street. Otter made the remarks to Idaho chamber of commerce leaders meeting in Boise on Monday. Past efforts to deepen Idaho's involvement with a national movement to tax Internet sales have foundered in the House Revenue and Taxation Committee, whose anti-tax conservatives have killed previous proposals. Idaho has a use tax, meaning everybody who buys over the Internet is required to report them to the State Tax Commission when they pay their annual income taxes. However, few people actually report them/Associated Press. More here.
Question: Do you support an Internet sales tax in Idaho?
Gov. Butch Otter says he's spoken with three candidates to replace outgoing GOP Chairman Norm Semanko (pictured), who embarrassed Otter in 2008 when he ousted then-Chairman Kirk Sullivan. "I was roundly criticized by all you guys that I couldn't control my own party and I was probably the only governor in the United States that didn't have his choice as party chairman," Otter told me late last week. "I've been able to work with Norm, but you know, I just don't want that to happen again." … First District U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador, a key player in boosting Semanko in 2008, said Monday that he's hoping to agree on a consensus candidate with Otter, as well as his GOP House colleague, Rep. Mike Simpson, and Idaho Republican Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.
Question: Who would be a good choice to replace Norm Semanko as Idaho GOP chairman?
Idaho Gov. Butch Otter is recruiting candidates to replace Norm Semanko as Idaho's GOP party chairman, reports Idaho Statesman reporter Dan Popkey; Semanko defeated Otter's favored candidate, then-Chairman Kirk Sullivan, in 2008. "I was roundly criticized by all you guys that I couldn't control my own party and I was probably the only governor in the United States that didn't have his choice as party chairman," Otter told Popkey. "I've been able to work with Norm, but you know, I just don't want that to happen again." You can read Popkey's full post here.
Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter backs taxing Internet sales to level the playing field between virtual businesses and brick-and-mortar establishments on Idaho's Main Street. Otter made the remarks to Idaho chamber of commerce leaders meeting in Boise on Monday. Past efforts to deepen Idaho's involvement with a national movement to tax Internet sales have foundered in the House Revenue and Taxation Committee, whose anti-tax conservatives have killed previous proposals. Idaho has a use tax, meaning everybody who buys over the Internet is required to report them to the State Tax Commission when they pay their annual income taxes. However, few people actually report them. Some estimate Idaho loses tens of millions annually in revenue, hurting schools and Main Street businesses whose products cost more because they're required to submit sales taxes.
In response to questions from members of chambers of commerce around the state, Gov. Butch Otter this morning said the state recently had news from the feds that Idaho insurance companies actually would be able to participate in a federally operated insurance exchange, if the state doesn't set up its own. "The resistance in the Legislature I fully understand, because they're saying no matter what we design in Idaho, if it doesn't comport to what the federal government wants, well then, why don't we just let the feds come in and put it over," Otter said.
"Up until three weeks ago we were under the impression … that if we don't design our own, then our state-based insurance, those that are indigenous to Idaho, companies, primarily the big three, the Blues and Pacific Source, would not be able to participate in the insrance exchange. About three weeks ago we got a letter that said that is not exactly right. Even with a federal exchange, you could have your companies in Idaho participating in that federal insurance exchange."
Otter said, "We were concerned about whether or not they would be able to participate. We've been told, or at least indicated in a letter, that it's not automatically exclusive of our state-based insurance companies. But once again my whole effort there was to preserve every option for the Legislature to consider."
Otter hinted that a different approach now is being considered on the insurance exchange issue. "I believe we have some other options - I'm not at liberty to tell you those right now," he said. "I do have Bill Deal and Dick Armstrong working on some options, that's probably outside the Affordable Health Care (bill) box. … Maybe it's something that they hadn't thought of when they created that monster."
Idaho Gov. Butch Otter is addressing the Idaho Chamber Alliance this morning, and he told the group of business people from around the state, "I believe we're looking at a good year. I tried to get that across in my State of the State. … There's a lot of positive things going on."
Otter said December state revenues were strong, and there could be news about January revenues next week. "So if we establish a trend … we'll know more about our future, exactly where we're going to be able to go, not only with funding the proper and necessary roles of government, but also with tax relief, where it's going to go." Otter said, "Over the summer … I had a multitude of legislators come in and talk to me about where they would like to see some tax relief." He reiterated that his "druthers" would be first to drop the state's individual income tax rate to match the corporate tax rate, then, in the future, as revenues allow, move both rates down together. That would cost the state treasury a little over $13 million a year.
"I am positive. I'm bullish on this year and where we're going, because I see a lot of optimistic signs, I see a lot of faith," Otter said. "I see a confidence coming back."