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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

Catching up…

I’m back after a restful week visiting with family, and catching up on some of the news I missed, including:

REVENUE: State tax revenues for April, the biggest month of the year, came in close to forecasts, at $482.4 million, $3.4 million, or 0.7 percent, above the predicted amount. That puts fiscal year-to-date state general fund receipts 3.7 percent ahead of the forecast - $91.8 million ahead. You can read the full General Fund Revenue Report here from the governor’s Division of Financial Management.

WATER: The Twin Falls Times-News reported Friday that Idaho groundwater users have agreed to cut more than 10 percent of their water claims in a monumental deal designed to stave off crippling water shutoffs along the southern half of the state. The parties came to an agreement on Thursday without requiring the state to intervene; you can read a full report here from the Times-News and the AP.

OFFICER KILLED: Coeur d’Alene Police Sgt. Greg Moore died Tuesday evening after he was shot early that morning while on patrol in a residential neighborhood; he had stopped to check on a man walking down a dark street, and the man pulled out a handgun and shot Moore, then stole his patrol car and fled. Thousands turned out for Moore’s funeral Saturday at Lake City High School. Jonathan Renfro, 26, has confessed to the crime and faces charges of first-degree murder.

TAX INCENTIVE: The Idaho Statesman reported on Tuesday that that United Airlines is outsourcing about 50 Boise operations and customer-service jobs to SkyWest Airlines at significantly lower wages, six months after SkyWest became the first business to win a new Idaho tax incentive worth $1.3 million by promising to bring 50 new high-paying jobs to Boise. Skywest told the Statesman it was unaware of United’s future plans when it applied for the tax incentive; Idaho Department of Commerce spokeswoman Megan Ronk said in the department’s view, the projects are unrelated. After SkyWest won the contract, employees said about 50 United workers were forced to choose between leaving or transferring to another city, or taking $9-per-hour jobs with few or no benefits. United will no longer have operations employees in Boise. There’s a full report here.

IDAHO REPORTS: Friday’s “Idaho Reports” program examined prospects for preschool in Idaho, education funding and whether the state’s current funding system is constitutional, and more; co-hosts Melissa Davlin and Aaron Kunz also talked with state schools Superintendent Sherri Ybarra about funding, and with Gov. Butch Otter about trade missions. Otter’s currently leading a trade mission to Peru and Mexico; you can watch the show here.

TRANSPORTATION DECISIONS: AP reporter Ryan Struyk examined the choices facing the Idaho Transportation Board on where to spend money from this year’s increase in funding for road and bridge maintenance. State Transportation Director Brian Ness said the $95 million infusion toward Idaho’s $262 million annual maintenance shortfall should “slow the rate of decline.” You can read the full story here.

RISCH RESOLUTION: The U.S. Senate on Monday unanimously passed a resolution proposed by Idaho Sen. Jim Risch calling on Iranian officials to immediately release three Americans held in Iran and help locate a fourth. It calls for Iran to free Saeed Abedini, Amir Hekmati and Jason Rezaian and cooperate with the U.S. government to locate and return former FBI agent Robert Levinson, who is believed to be missing in Iran. Risch argued that the four should have been released before the U.S. started negotiating a nuclear agreement with Iran. "Iran thinks it elevates its position in the world because it does these kind of things. It does not," he said. There’s a full report here.

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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