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Eye On Boise archive for Jan. 2010

TUESDAY, JAN. 12, 2010

Rep. Maxine Bell, R-Jerome, co-chair of the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee (Betsy Russell)

Bell: IPTV deserves some state support

Rep. Shirley Ringo, D-Moscow, asked Wayne Hammon about the proposal to eliminate state funding for Idaho Public Television over the next four years, noting that three-quarters of IPTV's budget already comes from other sources. "We have used general fund money to give them seed money,…

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Wayne Hammon, Gov. Butch Otter's budget chief, addresses the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee on Tuesday morning. (Betsy Russell)

Hammon: 'Better to plan for worst'

In going over the governor's budget proposal, Wayne Hammon, the governor's budget chief, told JFAC that the governor thinks it's "regrettable" that he's proposing no pay raise for state employees. Legally required salaries for state elected officials remain in the budget. "The governor believes the…

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The first meeting of the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee on Tuesday drew a full house; the panel writes the state budget. (Betsy Russell)

Full house for first JFAC hearing this morning

There's a full house in JFAC this morning for the first meeting of the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee, the panel that writes the state budget. After some preliminaries, the joint committee is now hearing from Wayne Hammon, Gov. Butch Otter's budget chief, about the governor's budget…

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Interim committees to report today

From 2 to 4 p.m. today, all of the Legislature's interim committees and task forces will present reports on what they've come up with since last year's legislative session. The meeting will be in the JFAC room on the third floor; click here for the…

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MONDAY, JAN. 11, 2010

Gov. Butch Otter acknowledges business leaders in the balcony during his State of the State message to a joint session of the Idaho Legislature on Monday. (Betsy Russell)

A budget full of cuts... 

Gov. Butch Otter laid out a grim budget proposal for Idaho today, calling for cutting public education both this year and next, slashing 400 state jobs, phasing out state funding for Idaho Public TV over the next four years and more. Here's a link to…

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Allred: 'A message of decline and retreat' 

Keith Allred, former head of The Common Interest citizen group and now a Democratic candidate for governor, was in the Capitol rotunda after Gov. Butch Otter's State of the State address, and he was plenty critical. “Gov. Otter today delivered a message of decline and…

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Gov. Butch Otter fields questions from reporters in his office after his State of the State address to lawmakers. (Betsy Russell)

Guv fields questions after his speech 

Gov. Butch Otter, answering questions from reporters in his office after his State of the State message, acknowledged that he's set his proposed budget for next year at $83.4 million less than his economists expect from state tax revenues. "I just think that we've overguessed…

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Luna: Schools face difficult cuts

State Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna says Gov. Butch Otter's proposed budget for next year cuts $138 million out of public schools, on top of the $68 million that was cut this year. "That's $200 million over two years," Luna said. He said he'll try…

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Lawmakers applaud at the end of Gov. Butch Otter's State of the State message to a joint session of the Legislature. (Betsy Russell)

'Tough issues before us'

At the conclusion of Gov. Butch Otter's State of the State message, in which he called for a no-growth budget for next year, House Speaker Lawerence Denney responded, "Thank you, governor. We'll look forward to working with you to solve the tough issues that are…

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Guv to lawmakers: Make it short

"Legislative sessions have averaged 82 days over the past 20 years or so," the governor told lawmakers. "Last year factors beyond our control pushed us about 50 percent over that average. I'm sure you share my hope today that - by sticking to our principles…

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Some items Otter would fund...

Gov. Butch Otter called for funding to "handle the tremendous enrollment growth" at the College of Western Idaho; "fully funding our commitments to cooperative medical education programs;" continuing to invest in the Center for Advanced Energy Studies in Idaho Falls; and to provide $1 million…

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Gov. Butch Otter delivers his State of the State and budget message to lawmakers. (Betsy Russell)

New $40M holdback would hit schools

On holdbacks, Gov. Butch Otter said, "As you know, the tiered holdback that I ordered in September gets us only part of the way to addressing the projected shortfall in our Fiscal Year 2010 revenue. I am asking you today to approve that holdback and…

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Otter would cut 400 state jobs

"My budget eliminates more than 400 positions throughout state government - including about 375 that are now vacant, and consolidates some agency operations," Gov. Butch Otter told lawmakers. Twenty-five existing jobs at the state Department of Parks & Recreation would be eliminated as the department…

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Otter: Reports will call for tax incentives 

The governor said he'll "soon be submitting reports" from his business and innovation summits calling for eliminating the personal property tax; enacting tax credits for infrastructure construction investments; and creating a homebuyer tax credit like Utah's. The reports will be submitted to the germane committees…

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Otter lists five priorities

Gov. Butch Otter listed five priorities, with the first being not to raise taxes. No. 2: Maintain some cash reserves. No. 3: Protect education. "As our recovery advances, one of our first priorities for new dollars should be our public schools and higher education," he…

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Otter: 'No. 1, we must not raise taxes' 

"Number one, we must not raise taxes," Gov. Butch Otter told lawmakers. "It is not our place to impose an additional economic burden on the people of Idaho who already are struggling, or to put a damper on our economic recovery." His comments drew a…

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Gov. Butch Otter addresses a joint session of the Idaho legislature. (Betsy Russell)

Otter: 'We're all in this together' 

"We're all in this together," Otter told the assembled lawmakers, officials and onlookers. "We have the talent, the intelligence, the will and most of all the people to get through this - smarter, tougher, and better than ever, and we will." He added, "It will…

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Gov. Butch Otter enters the House chamber for his State of the State message. (Betsy Russell)

Otter arrives in the House chamber

Gov. Butch Otter warmly greeted lawmakers as he arrived in the chamber. Then he began by apologizing - because he said this will be his longest State of the State message. He joked that it might be longer than the session. The governor then introduced…

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Senators file into the Idaho House chamber for a joint session, for the governor's State of the State address. (Betsy Russell)

Senators arrive in House chamber

Senators are filing in to the House chamber for the State of the State. There are greetings and camaraderie, but there's also a solemn undertone - the governor is expected to announce sharp cuts in the state budget. Already, last week, he said he'll impose…

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House Speaker Lawerence Denney presents an honor guard with the flag that will fly above the chamber, signifying that the Legislature is in session for 2010. (Betsy Russell)

Legislature convenes for 2010 session

The House has convened, and has made a formal presentation to an honor guard of the flag that will fly above the chamber, signifying that the Legislature is in session. In less than an hour, the full Senate, the justices of the Supreme Court and…

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State responds to Pam Lowe's lawsuit

Here's a link to my full story at spokesman.com on the state's response to fired ITD Director Pam Lowe's wrongful-termination lawsuit. The state filed its response over the weekend; it was filed by Newal Squyres of the Boise law firm Holland & Hart, who is…

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



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