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Eye On Boise

Otter concludes address, lawmakers applaud; link to budget docs

Gov. Butch Otter gives his State of the State address to a joint session of the Idaho Legislature on Monday, Jan. 11, 2016 (AP / Otto Kitsinger)
Gov. Butch Otter gives his State of the State address to a joint session of the Idaho Legislature on Monday, Jan. 11, 2016 (AP / Otto Kitsinger)

Gov. Butch Otter has concluded his State of the State message to a joint session of the Legislature; as he shook hands with Supreme Court justices on his way off the dais, he joked "Get me outta here!"

Otter's address touched on an array of themes, but was dominated by education, which both he and lawmakers have made clear will be the top priority for this year's legislative session.

Not mentioned in the speech but included in Otter's budget proposal: A $2 million boost to the Constitutional Defense Fund, which covers lawsuit costs, largely for losing cases; an estimated $28.7 million item in next year's budget to cover the cost of conforming Idaho's state tax laws with the federal tax law changes, which Idaho generally does each year, as its state income tax system is based on the federal one; and the funding mechanism for Otter's proposed Primary Care Access Program, which would tap $32 million in cigarette and tobacco taxes, with a $21.2 million impact on the state general fund. The governor's budget also includes $4 million for new educational exhibitions and the state Historical Museum, which is undergoing a major remodel and expansion, on the condition that the museum raise another $4 million to match that.

Otter's budget doesn't call for tax cuts. The two measures within it that reduce state general fund revenues are the PCAP health care program, and the IRS tax conformity bill. The governor's full executive budget documents are now available online 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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