House Speaker Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, had overall praise for Gov. Butch Otter’s State of the State message today. “I’m intrigued by the new concept of K-through-Career,” he said, instead of seeing education as K-12. “I think that is an important recognition that the goal of our education system is to get our citizens gainfully employed. I’ll look forward to finding out some more detail on that.”
Bedke said he’s “encouraged with the overall theme of implementing the task force’s recommendations on education.” He also noted the governor’s pledge that tax cuts “come into play only after the issues in education have been addressed this year.” Said Bedke, “I think that denotes a real commitment, that we go above and beyond what we might normally do in education.” Bedke said, “It’s my goal to have that budget set toward the first of the budget-setting process, and not at the last.” Then, he said, lawmakers will know what else they can do.
Asked about the governor’s zero recommendation for state employee raises – in the same year that the Legislature is convening its joint committee on state employee compensation for the first time in six years – Bedke smiled and said, “As you know, it will be the Legislature that sets the budget.” He said, “The House and Senate have jointly convened the CEC Committee. They’ll have three days of hearings, and then we’ll see.”