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News >  Idaho

Millennium Fund kept intact

From staff reports

BOISE – Dissenters in the House fell four votes short of restoring funding to two smoking-related programs Thursday.

The budget for the Idaho Millennium Fund cuts off funding for the statewide “Filter Idaho” anti-tobacco campaign, along with a county program to deal with indigents’ smoking-related medical costs.

The motion to amend HB 296, the Millennium Fund budget bill, died on a 33-37 vote. The House then passed the budget bill on a 49-21 vote, sending it to the Senate.

Most of North Idaho’s representatives opposed the motion, with Rep. Jim Clark, R-Hayden Lake, speaking out against it. Clark said it’s more important to keep the Millennium Fund’s principal intact than to continue funding the two programs the state has funded each year since the fund was set up with tobacco settlement money in 2001.

Among Panhandle representatives, just Reps. Shirley Ringo, D-Moscow; George Sayler, D-Coeur d’Alene; Mary Lou Shepherd, D-Prichard; and Tom Trail, R-Moscow voted in favor of the motion.

Lawmakers drained the entire Millennium Fund in 2003 to balance the state budget, so its earnings this year weren’t enough to continue funding the programs. A joint committee that oversees the fund recommended dipping into the principal to keep the programs going.

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