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Eye On Boise archive for Jan. 1, 2012

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 11, 2012

State worker salaries now lag market 18.6% 

The last time the Legislature funded raises for state employees was in fiscal year 2009, state Division of Human Resources head Vicki Tokita told legislative budget writers this morning. As a result, state worker salaries now lag 18.6 percent behind market rates, up from 15…

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TUESDAY, JAN. 10, 2012

Simpson names campaign finance chairs

2nd District Congressman Mike Simpson has announced four regional finance chairmen for his re-election campaign; they are: Kirk Sullivan, Damond Watkins, Doug Sayer and Mitch Watkins. You can read his full announcement here. Simpson, a Republican, is a seven-term congressman and a former speaker of…

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AP: For leverage, Dems threaten voting with GOP right 

As the 61st Idaho Legislature's second regular session lurches into gear, AP reporter John Miller reports today on an odd prospect: That the most-liberal members of the House Democratic caucus could vote with the most-conservative Republicans against creating a state-run health insurance exchange. Click below…

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Idaho Gov. Butch Otter delivers his sixth State of the State message to a joint session of the Legislature. (AP / Matt Cilley)

Guv lays out agenda, now it's lawmakers' turn

Here's a link to my story in today's Spokesman-Review on Gov. Butch Otter's agenda, as laid out to lawmakers yesterday. Today, the legislative session is under way; the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee is meeting this morning to begin digging into the governor's budget proposals.

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MONDAY, JAN. 9, 2012

Guv: 'Let's go to work'

Gov. Butch Otter concluded his message, "My thanks to you, God speed, let's go to work." His speech lasted 35 minutes; it was reportedly 28 minutes without applause, so the difference reflects the interruptions for applause from lawmakers. You can read the full text of…

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Standing ovation for Darrell Manning (Betsy Russell)

Lawmakers recognize Manning

Gov. Butch Otter recognized Darrell Manning, who has just retired as chairman of the Idaho Transportation Board. Manning, a former member of both houses, has served in numerous state positions over the years. "We applaud your work for the people of Idaho," Otter said to…

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Lawmakers applaud Gov. Butch Otter's proposal to begin refilling the state's reserve funds, during his State of the State message on Monday (Betsy Russell)

Refilling 'rainy-day funds'...

Idaho has drained $381 million from its various reserve funds in the past four years, as the economic downturn crimped the state budget and the money had to plug holes in the state budget. Now, Gov. Butch Otter is proposing starting to refill the accounts,…

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Otter on school funding...

In his budget proposal for public schools for next year, Gov. Butch Otter is calling for a $31.7 million increase in general funds, or 2.6 percent. That's less than the 5 percent sought by state schools Supt. Tom Luna, but Otter also would parcel out…

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Idaho Gov. Butch Otter (Betsy Russell)

Otter unveils 'IGEM' program: What it is...

The governor is unveiling his new "IGEM" jobs initiative, which stands for Idaho Global Entrepreneurial Mission. It's a $5 million program that includes permanent, ongoing state funding for the Center for Advanced Energy Studies, or CAES, at $2 million within the higher ed budget; another…

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Guv lauds Idaho entrepreneurs...

Gov. Butch Otter named a string of Idaho employers as examples of "Idaho's entrepreneurs stepping up and expressing confidence in our future." Among them: The new Chobani Greek yogurt plant being built in Twin Falls; Idaho's dairy industry; ON Semiconductor in Pocatello; the new Allstate…

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