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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

Barbieri on opposing school budget: ‘Can the taxpayer afford it?’

Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, was the only member of the House today who voted “no” on all seven pieces of the public school budget, as it cleared the House on overwhelmingly positive votes and headed to the Senate. “It’s difficult to vote against those because that money’s got to be there, but you’re just looking at so much money,” he said. “There’s got to be a way that we can at least … address the waste. The resistance has got to start somewhere.”

Barbieri said he hasn’t been voting against all appropriation bills this year, just those with increases beyond state employee costs including the 27th payroll period the state will have to cover next year. When it comes to health care and public schools, he said, “I understand the concerns about those. I just think at a certain point the question has to be asked: Can the taxpayer afford it?”

Among the handful of other House members voting against the public school budget bills today, Rep. Shannon McMillan, R-Silverton, voted against six of the seven, excepting only the facilities division; Rep. Kathy Sims, R-Coeur d’Alene, voted against four of the seven; and Rep. Heather Scott, R-Blanchard, opposed three of the seven, as did Reps. Ron Nate, R-Rexburg; and Rep. Sage Dixon, R-Ponderay. Nate, McMillan, and Dixon joined Barbieri in opposing the portion of the budget that provides services for the deaf and blind; and Dixon, Sims, and McMillan joined Barbieri in opposing the portion that includes restoring discretionary funds to school districts, on a per-classroom basis, to 2009 levels.

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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