Idaho pays its bills for firefighting after the fact – about a year and a half after the fact, after other agencies responsible for part of the costs have paid up, and the net cost to the state is known. So when the latest firefighting costs bill came before the House today, for $17.5 million in firefighting bills that were still outstanding as of the end of fiscal year 2014, last July 1, along with small amounts for hazardous cleanup and pest surveys, the bill passed easily, 68-1. The one dissenter? Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens.
Barbieri said it wasn’t that he doesn’t want the state to pay its bills, but he said, “There’s some question about the endowment contribution there.” He said he wondered “how much of that was used for endowment land, and whether the endowment fund should be paying for its own” firefighting costs, as opposed to the state general fund. Barbieri said since he doesn’t serve on JFAC, he didn’t know the details. “So when in doubt, vote no.”