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Eye On Boise

JFAC chooses lower number for 2010

The Democrats' substitute motion failed on a party-line vote, 4-16, though Sen. Dean Cameron first mistakenly voted yes, then changed his vote amid some chuckling. Then, the motion for the lower revenue figure set by the Joint Economic Outlook and Revenue Assessment Committee passed, also on a party-line vote, 16-4.

Speaking for the unsuccessful substitute motion, Sen. Diane Bilyeu, D-Pocatello, said, "This motion is following the governor's economist at DFM, and I think his modeling is very, very effective. ... Our economy is turning around." By making more cuts, she said, "We actually may be contributing to a downward spiral in our economy." Said Sen. Nicole LeFavour, D-Boise, "The people of Idaho need us to sustain jobs, not shed them. ... I think our economy depends on us."

But Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, said, "We are dependent on the good people of Idaho paying their taxes, and that depends that they have something to pay their taxes with. ... There are many places in Idaho where the unemployment rate is 20 percent and above. In my district, as I look around, I see many, many people out of work. ... They are running out of unemployment benefits. The notion that somehow they're going to spend more between now and June 30th or anything this year is a notion that I don't think is very realistic, and one that I cannot support."

Said Senate Finance Chairman Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, "We can politicize this all we want - that's not going to help us. ... I was so hopeful that Mr. Ferguson's numbers were right in January. They weren't. ... In reality what this committee does is not based on pessimism or optimism, it's based on risk - how much risk are you wiling to put on state agencies? ... How much risk are you willing to put towards public schools if the economy doesn't hit at what Mr. Ferguson projected?" He said, "We are constitutionally bound to balance the budget."

Eye On Boise

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