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Eye On Boise archive for Feb. 8, 2010

MONDAY, FEB. 8, 2010

Wayne Hammon, Gov. Butch Otter's budget chief, tells the Senate Education Committee on Monday afternoon that the administration thinks online courses being offered to Idaho students through the Idaho Digital Learning Academy are being "double-funded." Otter has proposed phasing out state funding for IDLA over the next four years. (Betsy Russell)

Hammon: 'They're double-funding this'

Wayne Hammon, Gov. Butch Otter's budget director, told the Senate Education Committee, "There is no cut to IDLA in the governor's budget. ... We continue to have the $5 million going forward." That's the budget that was set for IDLA for this year, before its…

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Egg farms poised for exodus to Idaho? 

The AP reports that Idaho is among several states watching to see if a California animal cruelty law drives big egg farms there to look at leaving the state - and possibly move here. As a result of a 2008 voter initiative, California law will…

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'A very troubling area...'

JFAC members quizzed Idaho Department of Administration officials so long about the Idaho Education Network this morning that they ran over time, and almost had to skip the Capitol Commission's budget hearing. Among the questions was this one from Senate Finance Chairman Dean Cameron, R-Rupert:…

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JFAC mourns Osgood

When JFAC heard the budget request for the state's Permanent Building Fund this morning, a long-familiar participant was missing. Tim Mason of the state Division of Public Works told the joint committee that Larry Osgood passed away nine days ago. Osgood, a mechanical engineer, was…

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Thayn-Durst bill: Scholarships for early grads

Reps. Steven Thayn, R-Emmett, and Branden Durst, D-Boise, have introduced legislation that Durst touts as "innovation in education," to set up a pilot project for 21 school districts and three charter schools to offer a special scholarship to students who graduate from high school at…

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Rep. Cliff Bayer, R-Boise, pitches legislation to the House Revenue and Taxation Committee on Monday morning that expands a property tax break bill lawmakers passed two years ago, but that hasn't been used. It was among two new tax break bills introduced by the committee on Monday morning; the other is for aircraft repairs. (Betsy Russell)

Two new tax breaks introduced

The House Revenue & Taxation Committee this morning introduced two new tax break bills. The first, from Reps. Cliff Bayer, R-Boise, and Mike Moyle, R-Star, expands an existing law created two years ago to let counties give property tax breaks to new businesses in certain…

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Mike Gwartney, head of the state Department of Administration, fields questions from legislative budget writers on Monday morning about consolidation moves he's proposing to save the state money. (Betsy Russell)

Lawmakers question Gwartney

One of the money-saving consolidation proposals that state Administration chief Mike Gwartney outlined drew several questions from JFAC members. Gwartney said there's no need to send a building inspector from the state Division of Building Safety to inspect a building, when his department has people…

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IT consolidation targets 'low-hanging fruit'

Greg Zickau, chief technology officer for the state Department of Administration, said the department is proposing to transfer nine information technology positions to Admin from other agencies as part of an IT consolidation that would save an estimated $229,000 a year. Overall, the move would…

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Gwartney: 'Eliminating duplication' 

State Department of Administrator head Mike Gwartney told lawmakers this morning that he's hoping to save the state millions through various consolidation efforts. "When I moved into this job we had 74 individual email plans," Gwartney told JFAC. "We've now taken that down to where…

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Eye On Boise

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