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Eye On Boise

Unanimous votes on agency budget cuts…

The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee on Friday morning sets budgets for the Idaho Department of Fish & Game, the Office of Species Conservation and the Soil Conservation Commission. All three decisions were unanimous. (Betsy Russell)
The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee on Friday morning sets budgets for the Idaho Department of Fish & Game, the Office of Species Conservation and the Soil Conservation Commission. All three decisions were unanimous. (Betsy Russell)

Unanimous votes have set the budgets so far this morning for the Department of Fish & Game, the Office of Species Conservation, and the Soil Conservation Commission. Fish & Game, which gets no state general funds, saw an overall 2 percent budget increase; the agency is saving $200,000 by consolidating 53 part-time positions into 39 full-time positions. "You actually wind up with a savings," said Rep. George Eskridge, R-Dover. That also allowed the agency to eliminate a request to replace eight vehicles. The Office of Species Conservation, under the proposed budget, would grow by four positions, but they're limited-service, federally-funded positions that are being transferred from the Soil Conservation Commission budget. Sen. Bert Brackett, R-Rogerson, said the move "reduces a layer of state government," because the money came through Species Conservation, then went to Soil Conservation for those positions.

The Soil Conservation budget reflects a 44.3 percent budget reduction and seven fewer positions; that includes the four being transferred, plus three more that now are vacant, "so it won't mean laying any people off," Brackett said. Rep. Shirley Ringo, D-Moscow, said, "The budget is, I think, about as good as we could do." Said Rep. Maxine Bell, R-Jerome, "These are people who are used to doing more with less."



Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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