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Eye On Boise archive for Jan. 1, 2010

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 20, 2010

Roberts motion: Cut $120M more this year

Rep. Ken Roberts, R-Donnelly, has proposed a new motion setting revenue for both fiscal years 2010 and 2011 at $2.25 billion. That would force the Legislature to cut another $120 million from the current year's budgets - meaning far more holdbacks than Gov. Butch Otter…

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Members of the Joint Economic Outlook & Revenue Assessment Committee mix and discuss during a 10-minute break before a key vote Wednesday. (Betsy Russell)

A quick break before the vote...

With some committee members uncertain about what was in which motion, the Joint Economic Outlook and Revenue Assessment Committee is taking a 10-minute break to make sure the figures are clearly laid out for all members before a vote.

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Lawmaker: 'Our task is a daunting one'

The joint committee on revenue is now debating the three motions. "We do not have the luxury this year of missing it like we did last year," said House Assistant Majority Leader Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, who said he favors Sen. Russ Fulcher's substitute motion or…

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Three motions on the table for state revenue...

House Tax Chairman Dennis Lake, R-Blackfoot, moved to propose the Joint Economic Outlook & Revenue Assessment Committee's median projection as the recommended revenue projection for fy 2011, and accept the governor's figure for 2010. Then, Sen. Russ Fulcher, R-Meridian, proposed a much lower figure: $2.28…

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Mike Ferguson, chief economist for Gov. Butch Otter, answers questions from lawmakers about the state's revenue outlook on Wednesday. (Betsy Russell)

Short $12.6M, but 'some actual good news' too

December state tax revenues are down by $12.6 million from forecasts, Mike Ferguson, chief economist for Gov. Butch Otter, told the Joint Economic Outlook & Revenue Assessment Committee. You can see Ferguson's complete handout to the committee here. Despite the bottom-line drop, "There is embedded…

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House Dems, Senate GOP hold caucuses

Senate Republicans caucused for about half an hour today, and House Democrats for an hour. GOP senators had Senate Finance Chairman Dean Cameron give an update on state revenues and the governor's budget recommendation. "This is the first opportunity we've had to give the full…

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State gearing up for future fossil finds

Idaho could find a whole lot more big fossils - wooly mammoths and the like - in coming years as big energy transmission projects spread across the fossil-rich southern and eastern portions of the state, and state officials want to gear up by shifting some…

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Revenue panel meets this afternoon

The Joint Economic Outlook & Revenue Assessment Committee will meet at 2 p.m. today in the large auditorium in the west underground wing of the Capitol to finalize its report to the Legislature on revenue levels on which to base the state budget. The meeting…

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Idaho Health & Welfare division administrator Kathleen Allyn describes the impact of budget cuts on various Health & Welfare programs. (Betsy Russell)

Trimming services for the vulnerable... 

This morning, legislative budget writers are in the second of three days of hearings on the Department of Health & Welfare budget, with today's focus on mental health and substance abuse services, psychiatric hospitalization, child welfare and developmental disabilities - all areas where budget cuts…

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TUESDAY, JAN. 19, 2010



Labrador raised $30K in December 

State Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Eagle, who's running in the GOP primary for the 1st District congressional seat, has announced that he raised $30,000 in December, bringing his campaign warchest to a total of $80,000. That's because he also put in $50,000 of his own money,…

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JFAC members wrestle with H&W cuts

Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, asked Health & Welfare Director Dick Armstrong whether he'd considered cutting department employees' salaries and benefits. "Have you done an analysis for your department about salary reduction, and how that might save front-line services?" she asked. Armstrong said furloughs already reduce…

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Idaho Health & Welfare Director Dick Armstrong tells the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee on Tuesday morning that budget cuts are having such severe impacts on his department, at a time of soaring caseloads, that he can no longer accomplish "good public policy" in implementing the cuts. (Betsy Russell)

'Can no longer guarantee good public policy'

Budget cuts have had severe impact at the state Department of Health & Welfare, Director Dick Armstrong told the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee this morning. Much of Health & Welfare consists of programs in which the federal government provides matching money tied to state spending; in…

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MONDAY, JAN. 18, 2010


State Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna addresses a charter school rally on the Capitol steps on Monday afternoon. (Courtesy photo / Coalition of Idaho Charter School Families)

The case of the missing P.A.... 

Amid all the hubbub in the Capitol today, the Coalition of Idaho Charter School Families had to hold its rally on the Statehouse steps - with 550 kids and parents in attendance - without any amplification, because the state-owned P.A. system it planned to use…

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Onlookers fill the state Capitol rotunda for Idaho's official Martin Luther King Jr./Idaho Human Rights Day ceremony on Monday. (Betsy Russell)

'It's people being peaceful' 

The Capitol is filled with people - parents and children watching from every floor of the rotunda at the state's official Martin Luther King Jr./Idaho Human Rights Day ceremony; high school and college students, some of whom took part in rallies earlier; older folks who…

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