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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Eye On Boise

Lawmakers hear latest surplus estimates

The Legislature's joint Economic Outlook & Revenue Assessment Committee continues meeting this morning; you can watch live online here. So far today, the panel has heard from Micron Technology, which reported that Micron's 2010 sales revenue came 70 percent from Asia, 21 percent from the Americas and 9 percent from Europe; from the Idaho Hospital Association, which reported that Idaho hospitals are responsible directly and indirectly for nearly 62,000 jobs and $2.56 billion in payroll; and from legislative budget director Cathy Holland-Smith. Still on the schedule for today are the state Tax Commission, Associated Taxpayers of Idaho, and economic forecasters from BSU, ISU and the U of I.

Holland-Smith presented the latest state budget estimates, which show a projected ending balance at the end of the current fiscal year of $130 million. If next year, fiscal 2013, sees 3 percent growth, that would provide enough to fund all services at current levels and leave $79.4 million left over for other purposes - from restoring cuts to increasing state employee pay, refilling rainy-day accounts or providing tax cuts. If state revenue grew by 4 percent, it'd be $105.4 million; at 5 percent, $131.4 million.

Many of the presentations to the commission, including yesterday's presentations from PERSI investment chief Bob Maynard, state Commerce Director Jeff Sayer, state chief economist Derek Santos and more, are available on the committee's website here. The hearings are designed to help lawmakers estimate likely tax revenue in the coming year, and set a figure for that on which to base the state budget.

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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