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Eye On Boise

Otter: Transportation bill must ‘stay out of general fund,’ be ‘user-pay’

Gov. Butch Otter talks with reporters on Thursday (Betsy Russell)
Gov. Butch Otter talks with reporters on Thursday (Betsy Russell)

Gov. Butch Otter, speaking with reporters in his office this morning after the teacher pay bill-signing, laid out his “parameters” on transportation funding for this year’s legislative session. “We’ve got a couple of issues hanging fire, and the big one of course is transportation,” Otter said, adding, “I would even say maybe the going-home bill.”

Otter said he has these “parameters” in mind:

  • 1 - “We need to stay out of the general fund.”
  • 2 – It must include a “significant step toward revenue needs;” and
  • 3 – “I’d like to keep it user-pay,” which Otter defined as “registration and gas tax.”

He said, “Frankly, there is a bill.” It may not have a bill number yet, Otter said, but it’s “Rep. Anderson’s bill out of the House. … It’s a multiple-year solution.” Otter compared the issue to the teacher-pay issue, on which he today signed into law legislation for a five-year plan to significantly boost state funding for teacher salaries. “If I would look back on this session and say, ‘What’s different,’ I would have to say it’s been the forward looking of the Legislature,” Otter said.

Asked about tax reform, he said, “Tax reform is going to be a little tougher this year. I think most everybody recognizes that we have made a commitment” to increased education funding. He added, “If you look at some of the bills that I have turned down or not signed, it’s because I don’t want to see them shrink the general fund.”

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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