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Eye On Boise archive for Oct. 14, 2009

WEDNESDAY, OCT. 14, 2009

Idaho faces bleak budget news... 16 

Idaho's state budget news is bleak, lawmakers heard as they gathered today for the interim meeting of the Legislature's joint budget committee: One in five Idaho school districts has declared a financial emergency. State prisons are managing 500 more offenders than a year ago, with...

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Idaho Health & Welfare Director Dick Armstrong tells legislative budget writers that huge shortfalls are possible for the state's Medicaid program when the federal economic stimulus funds are gone. (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)

Huge Medicaid shortfall is possible...

Based on estimates of federal funding levels for Medicaid once the federal economic stimulus boost is gone, Idaho's Medicaid program is looking at having to cut costs by $387 million - about 23 percent of the Medicaid program. Various savings efforts already are under way....

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Managing more prisoners with less money... 

Idaho's state Department of Correction is managing 500 more offenders now than it did a year ago, with $28 million less in funding, Corrections Director Brent Reinke just informed JFAC. The department, he said, is working "to really try to do a much better job...

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Part-time state workers face benefit cuts

JFAC has begun reviewing the health insurance benefits for state employees, including part-time workers who are facing big cuts next month. Legislative budget analyst Keith Bybee told the lawmakers that the executive branch is making the changes for part-timers as of the Nov. 14 payroll....

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Various fees, tuition could rise...

As state agencies look at budget cuts and how to replace federal stimulus money once it's gone, they've also been asked to look for possible new revenue sources other than the state general fund, legislative budget director Cathy Holland-Smith told JFAC as she wrapped up...

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Might have to consider enrollment caps?

A fairly long list of supplemental appropriation requests is looming for lawmakers to consider, for everything from rising caseloads in foster care to a $13.5 million Medicaid shortfall. Those are items that need to be funded in the current year. One item on the list...

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'Significant' state budget cuts ahead...

How bad will the state budget cuts ahead be for next year? "It's not going to be nibbling around the edges any more," legislative budget director Cathy Holland-Smith cautioned lawmakers this morning. "We just don't have that type of flexibility. We're talking about significant changes...

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The Idaho Legislature's Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee hears an update from legislative budget director Cathy Holland-Smith as it opens its interim meeting Wednesday in Boise. (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)

JFAC opens interim meeting

The Idaho Legislature's joint budget committee has begun its interim meeting this morning at the Stueckle Sky Center at BSU, starting with an update from legislative budget director Cathy Holland-Smith on the state of the general fund. Overall: Not so good. The state faces a...

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Eye On Boise

News, happenings and more from the Idaho Legislature and the state capital.