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Eye On Boise

‘Trying to salvage what I could get’

Here's why Sen. Jim Hammond, R-Post Falls, decided to second Sen. Russ Fulcher's motion on the state revenue estimate: "I could see where things were going, and they were going to an even more conservative number, and so I was trying to salvage what I could get," Hammond said. When an array of business leaders addressed the joint revenue committee earlier, "I heard all the business people say we've bottomed out and we're starting to grow," Hammond said. "So I thought we were better served by taking a conservative approach, but yet still somewhat optimistic, and that's what I was pushing for." He added, "I really do believe that to some extent you can create your own negative self-fulfilling prophecy. By projecting no growth, that may be exactly what you get, because you frighten people out of making investments they were thinking of making in their businesses in terms of equipment, in terms of employees, in terms of expansion. You have to strike a balance there." Hammond voted against Fulcher's first motion, which was nearly identical to the successful motion that he later seconded.

Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, who also opposed Fulcher's first motion but backed his second one, said, "I wasn't wanting to support the lower numbers - I didn't really like any of the motions the first time around. ... Looking at how the numbers were developing, I didn't want to end up with the $2.25" billion, the significantly lower figure proposed by Rep. Ken Roberts, which, if used to set the state budget, would have forced $120 million in additional budget cuts this year, beyond what the governor's already recommended.

Senate Education Chairman John Goedde, R-Coeur d'Alene, who joined four Democrats in opposing the final, successful motion, said, "I don't want to cut budgets any harder than we have to." He said he agreed with the figure set for fiscal year 2011, but thought the figure for the current year was too low. "If we undercut our 2010 revenue, then we're going to make cuts that aren't needed," he said.

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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