Lawmakers had so many questions about the troubled Idaho Education Network that this morning’s hearing on the state Department of Administration budget went 40 minutes over its planned time, prompting the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee to put off its hearing on the Capitol Commission budget to tomorrow. Now, it’s going ahead with the delayed hearing on the Permanent Building Fund, which covers construction, maintenance and repair of state buildings.
The proposal from Gov. Butch Otter for the building fund budget for next year calls for a 2.4 percent increase from this year. That includes $31.55 million for alteration and repair projects on state buildings; the state has been trying to address maintenance projects put off during the economic downturn. State agencies had requested $93.2 million in such projects next year.
Otter also is recommending funding for $2.5 million toward a $35 million fine arts building at Boise State University, with the rest of the money to come from other sources including fundraising; $5.4 million for an Idaho State Police facility in Pocatello on land donated by the Idaho Transportation Department; and $4 million toward a $6.4 million collaborative education facility in North Idaho for North Idaho College, Lewis-Clark State College, and the University of Idaho; private gifts will pay for the rest.
Otter also is recommending a $1.15 million supplemental appropriation, in the current year, to continue renovating the Capitol Annex, the former Ada County Courthouse across the street from the state Capitol that’s destined to be a future Idaho Law and Learning Center including the University of Idaho’s Boise law school programs and the state law library. The funding is for the final phase of a six-year project to do basic refurbishing on the now state-owned building, including updating mechanical systems.