JFAC Co-Chair Rep. Maxine, Bell, R-Jerome, asked Lt. Gov. Brad Little this morning if he was called away from something more important to present his annual budget request to the joint committee, because, “Your budget is never earth-shaking, that’s for sure.” Amid laughter, Little said no.
“My life is so exciting that I spend a lot of time listening to JFAC,” he said. “And I have to tell you that when I hear agency after agency saying, and I fully agree with the increased CEC, but that they have to do it to be competitive, I just smile and I say we’re doing our job. … All the good work that we do in governance and inspiring free enterprise to be successful is the reason the biggest item you have in your budget this year is going to be an increase in teacher pay,” he said. “That’s a reflection of the environment in Idaho, that collectively we’re doing our job, including me, I hope.”
Little’s budget request for next year is just $172,900, a $2,900 or 1.7 percent increase from this year, largely because of change in employee compensation and the addition of cybersecurity insurance payments.
Bell commented, “Ladies and gentlemen, we finally have a budget we can afford.”
Little also mentioned that in his work as lieutenant governor, economic development is a big part of his job, so he’ll be heading to Las Vegas tomorrow with state Commerce Director Megan Ronk for a trade show involving Idaho’s munitions and gun businesses. Since Gov. Butch Otter is leaving today for inaugural festivities in Washington, D.C., that means Senate President Pro-Tem Brent Hill, R-Rexburg, will serve as acting governor.