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Eye On Boise archive for Jan. 2010

SUNDAY, JAN. 10, 2010

Idaho's state Capitol is now open for business. It reopened Saturday after a two-and-half-year closure for restoration and expansion. The state Legislature opens its session in the Capitol on Monday. (Betsy Russell)

Here it comes...

Here's a link to my Sunday story on the upcoming legislative session and its challenges. The Legislature convenes at noon (MT) on Monday, and the governor's State of the State and budget address to a joint session is scheduled for 1 p.m. Mountain time, noon…

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SATURDAY, JAN. 9, 2010

Idahoans stream into their newly reopened state Capitol on Saturday. The building has been closed for two and a half years for renovation and expansion. (Betsy Russell)

Thousands tour newly reopened Capitol 

Thousands of Idahoans are streaming through their state capitol today, after a noon rededication ceremony that concluded when Gov. Butch Otter said, "I now declare the Capitol building officially open to conduct the people's business."Crowds poured up the steps and through the second-floor doors, and…

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THURSDAY, JAN. 7, 2010

This view shows the dome over the Idaho State Senate chambers, newly restored. The Idaho state capitol reopens to the public on Saturday after a two-and-a-half-year renovation. (Betsy Russell)

Ready to reopen...

Idaho's state Capitol has been renovated and shined up, but it still looks pretty much like it always has - except better. It's cleaner and brighter, with more of the natural light it originally was designed to let in. It's bigger, too, with the addition…

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Gov. Butch Otter addresses the media at the AP Legislative Preview, which drew a full house on Thursday morning in Boise. (Betsy Russell)

A newsy morning... 

There's been lots of news this morning, from Gov. Butch Otter's announcement about coming holdbacks on schools to university presidents' dire warnings about the impact of cuts on Idaho's higher education. Meanwhile, the joint Economic Outlook & Revenue Assessment Committee continues to meet, taking testimony…

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University of Idaho President Duane Nellis, center, addresses the AP Legislative Preview in Boise. At left is BSU President Bob Kustra; at right is Marty Peterson, special assistant to Nellis. (Betsy Russell)

Wins on field, but trouble in budgets...

University of Idaho President Duane Nellis opened his talk to the AP legislative preview this morning by congratulating BSU President Bob Kustra, who sat next to him, on BSU's Fiesta Bowl win. "I think it's just great for the state of Idaho," he declared, noting…

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Moyle: Tax cut might not be 'doable' this year 

In comments earlier this morning at the AP legislative preview, House Majority Leader Mike Moyle, R-Star, appeared to back off from a proposal he's put forth to phase in big tax cuts, starting this year, by reducing Idaho's individual and corporate income tax rates. With…

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Dems call for 'tax fairness,' vs. hikes 

The Legislature's minority caucuses aren't calling for a tax increase, Senate Minority Leader Kate Kelly said. "There are many, many things we can do to improve our revenue picture without raising taxes," she said. "We have a tax system that has been very, very poorly…

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From left, House Minority Leader John Rusche, D-Lewiston, Senate Minority Leader Kate Kelly, D-Boise, Senate President Pro-Tem Bob Geddes, R-Soda Springs, and House Speaker Lawerence Denney, R-Midvale, address the press at the AP Legislative Preview in Boise. (Betsy Russell)

'Great to have public back in the process'

Senate President Pro-Tem Bob Geddes noted that at this morning's AP Legislative Preview, the new, spacious hearing room in the Capitol's new underground wings was full to overflowing. "We chose the wrong hearing room," he said, adding that now there are rooms big enough to…

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Gov. Butch Otter answers questions from reporters on Thursday. At left is reporter John Miller of the Associated Press. (Betsy Russell)

Otter favors holdback on schools 

Schools would be hit by any additional holdbacks imposed this year, Gov. Butch Otter said just now in response to questioning from reporters at his news conference this morning. Asked if he supports a proposal GOP legislative leaders put forth in a Dec. 7 letter…

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Next year: 'No-growth budget' 

Gov. Butch Otter said, "On Monday we will be announcing for 2011 a no-growth budget." He noted that even though he's not imposed additional holdbacks on the current year's budget since his September announcement of a 4 percent cut, state agencies have been put on…

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'The percentage is - Monday'

Asked what percentage of holdback, or mid-year budget cut, he's planning to propose for the state's budget, Gov. Butch Otter said, "The percentage is Monday." That's the day he'll make his State of the State address to a joint session of the Legislature and unveil…

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Speaker, pro-tem urged across-the-board cuts

Idaho House Speaker Lawerence Denney and Senate President Pro-Tem Robert Geddes sent a letter to Gov. Butch Otter on Dec. 7 saying they thought an additional across-the-board holdback was needed on all state agencies including public schools, as first reported today by Dan Popkey in…

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ITD trims GARVEE bond proposal 

The Idaho Transportation Board has trimmed its proposal for GARVEE bond-funded road work in the coming year from $45 million to $26 million, because of savings in the program, which has seen bids coming in much lower than expected. The bond program is funding several…

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'Idaho has swung into positive territory' 

Mike Ferguson, chief economist for Gov. Butch Otter, shared some of the most recent data on states' recovery from the recession with the Legislature's Joint Economic Outlook committee just now. Though Idaho was hit early and hard by the current recession, it appears to have…

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Worst since the '40s, but signs of recovery... 

In 2010, the state Department of Labor projects that 13 counties will have double-digit unemployment rates, with Clearwater County forecast the highest at 17.2 percent. In 2011, the department projects that 10 states will hit double digits, with Valley County highest at 16.9 percent. Said…

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The Idaho Legislature's Joint Legislative Economic Outlook and Revenue Assessment Committee opens the first legislative hearing in the newly renovated Idaho state capitol. The legislative session starts Monday. (Betsy Russell)

First hearing opens in renovated Statehouse 

The first legislative hearing in the newly renovated state capitol has opened, with the Joint Legislative Economic Outlook and Revenue Assessment Committee taking testimony on the state of Idaho's economy, to help lawmakers decide where to set the state budget for next year. "Everyone's rather…

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David Williams, left, vice president for policy of Citizens Against Government Waste, and Wayne Hoffman, right, head of the Idaho Freedom Foundation, announce the release of their "2010 Idaho Pork Report," which they said shows government waste in state and local government in Idaho. (Betsy Russell)

Groups cite government waste 

Citizens Against Government Waste and the Idaho Freedom Foundation today unveiled a "2010 Idaho Pork Report," pointing to ways the two groups said Idaho is wasting state and local taxpayer dollars and could make big savings. Among the suggestions: Cut health and pension benefits for…

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TUESDAY, JAN. 5, 2010

Kemp launches independent campaign 

Former GOP state Rep. Jana Kemp launched her independent campaign for governor today, addressing supporters at the Nampa Civic Center and saying she'll run on "a platform of jobs, education, energy, fairness and responsibility." Kemp cited a recent national poll showing most Americans don't have…

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Macy's closing downtown Boise store

It's the last remaining department store in downtown Boise, and Macy's, formerly The Bon Marche, is a downtown institution. But today the department store chain announced that it's closing five stores around the country, including the downtown Boise store, as "part of the ongoing annual…

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Allred names campaign staff

Keith Allred, Democratic candidate for governor of Idaho, has named former U.S. Attorney for Idaho Betty Richardson as his campaign manager. Richardson heads a Democratic Party candidate recruitment committee that helped persuade Allred, formerly a nonpartisan citizen activist, to become the Democratic standard-bearer. Allred also…

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UI clears Bulgin of 'scientific misconduct' 

The University of Idaho has cleared professor and Caine Veterinary Center official Marie Bulgin of "scientific misconduct" after an inquiry into her writings and testimony denying that wild bighorn sheep contract disease from domestic sheep, despite earlier research by the center showing such a link.…

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MONDAY, JAN. 4, 2010

A tale of big money gone bad...

Here's a link to my full story on the class-action lawsuit against Credit Suisse over an alleged "predatory" lending scheme involving four failed luxury resorts, including Tamarack Resort in Idaho, the Yellowstone Club in Montana, Lake Las Vegas in Nevada and Ginn Sur Mer on…

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Eye On Boise

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

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