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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Idaho asks tribe to help keep Old Mission park open

BOISE – Idaho officials say a tight state budget will force them to end funding July 1 for the Old Mission State Park along Interstate 90, the site of the state’s oldest standing building. Bob Meinen, Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation director, said Tuesday he’s talking with the Coeur d’Alene Indian Tribe, which owns the property that’s home to the 155-year-old Cataldo Mission, on alternatives to keep the park open.

Politicians spar over laptops

BOISE – With controversial budget cuts on the line, Idaho Gov. Butch Otter became embroiled Tuesday in a fight with lawmakers over his line-item veto last year of their new laptop computers. Lawmakers got new laptops anyway – and now the governor’s threatening another veto.

Idaho asks tribe to help keep Old Mission park open

BOISE – Idaho officials say a tight state budget will force them to end funding July 1 for the Old Mission State Park along Interstate 90, the site of the state’s oldest standing building. Bob Meinen, Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation director, said Tuesday he’s talking with the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, which owns the property that’s home to the 155-year-old Cataldo Mission, on alternatives to keep the park open.

Otter proposes cuts to schools

BOISE – Idaho Gov. Butch Otter dropped a bombshell on state legislators Monday – a proposal for the state’s first-ever cut in public school funding. “The fact is that my proposed public schools budget is reduced far less than I’m recommending for other state agencies,” Otter said as he unveiled a plan to cut school funding by 5.3 percent next year. Overall, his proposed budget would be 7.3 percent less than the original state budget for this year, before an economic downturn forced midyear cuts.

Keogh ‘honored’ by Otter’s consideration

BOISE – Sandpoint Sen. Shawn Keough said she wasn’t expecting it when she got a call from Gov. Butch Otter on Christmas Eve, asking whether she’d consider an appointment as lieutenant governor. The sixth-term Republican was one of about 30 people Otter talked to about the job, before this week appointing Sen. Brad Little, R-Emmett, to the post. “I think the governor made a great choice and that Brad will do an excellent job,” Keough said.

Otter says budget cuts difficult but needed

BOISE — Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter was at a meeting last month when a woman confronted him over cutbacks in her autistic son’s services through the Department of Health and Welfare, from 30 hours per week to just 22 hours.

ITD board passes over Dover Bridge project

BOISE - Gov. Butch Otter and North Idaho lawmakers both expressed concern Thursday after Idaho’s transportation board knocked the replacement of the deteriorated Dover Bridge off the top of a list of priorities for spending federal stimulus funds.

Otter can’t reject pay raise

BOISE – Gov. Butch Otter’s decision to turn down a scheduled 3 percent pay raise this year has run into an unexpected roadblock: An Idaho attorney general’s opinion that concludes he can’t do it. The state constitution requires the Legislature to set the pay amounts for officials including the governor and to do it before they take office. Their pay can’t be changed during their terms. So a law passed before Otter took office mandating that his $108,727 salary rise by 3 percent in 2009, to $111,989, is the law – and Otter has no power to change it.

Brad Little named lieutenant governor

BOISE – Brad Little, a rancher and state senator from Emmett, Idaho, was chosen by Gov. Butch Otter on Tuesday to be Idaho’s new lieutenant governor, as former Lt. Gov. Jim Risch was sworn in to the U.S. Senate to replace retiring Sen. Larry Craig. Little, the Senate majority caucus chairman, is a popular senator and longtime friend of Otter, who started his career as a state representative in 1973 alongside Little’s father.

Idaho governor can’t reject raise, will donate it

Gov. Butch Otter's decision to turn down a scheduled 3 percent pay raise this year has run into an unexpected roadblock: An Idaho attorney general's opinion has concluded that he can't do it.

Otter names Little to Idaho’s No. 2 post

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter made big political news just now with his announcement of his pick for the state’s new lieutenant governor: Sen. Brad Little, R-Emmett, a rancher and Senate majority caucus chairman.

Otter will name names on Tuesday

BOISE – Idaho Gov. Butch Otter says he’ll appoint the state’s lieutenant governor on Tuesday – that’s the same day that current Lt. Gov. Jim Risch will be sworn in as a U.S. senator and resign the state post – and Otter has named names of 16 people he’s talked to about the job. It’s not a complete list – there is an equal number of possibles whom Otter either hasn’t talked with yet or who didn’t want their names released. But the list is an interesting one that includes three North Idaho candidates, an array of folks from around the state, and two who’ve withdrawn from consideration but were still willing to have the news get out that the guv talked to them about the post.

Coach gets top Idaho salary

BOISE – Idaho’s highest-paid state employee isn’t the governor, a university president or a key scientist – it’s Boise State University head football coach Chris Petersen. Petersen heads the list of a record 310 Idaho state employees who now out-earn Gov. Butch Otter. The list has swelled from 284 last year, in part because Otter opted to turn down his scheduled 3 percent pay raise this year and stick with last year’s salary of $108,727.

Otter asks for more budget cuts

BOISE – As economic recovery hopes dim, Gov. Butch Otter has asked state agencies to prioritize programs to be trimmed in fiscal year 2010 in anticipation of possible cuts of as much as 6 percent – or an additional $169 million – from their budgets. Otter already ordered agencies to slash $130 million, or some 4 percent, from spending in the current fiscal year, which ends June 30. If all cuts are made, the 2010 budget could decline about 10 percent, to $2.64 billion, a level last seen in 2007.

Otter pushes gas tax increase

BOISE – Gov. Butch Otter intends to push Idaho lawmakers to raise the state gas tax, increase car and truck registration fees, and tax rental cars to pay for pressing road and bridge maintenance needs around the state. “What will be revealed in January is whether we have the political will, the political courage to make the choices that are needed,” Otter’s chief of staff, Jason Kreizenbeck, told a gathering of the Associated Taxpayers of Idaho on Wednesday, reading from prepared remarks that Otter had intended to deliver to the group himself. Because the governor was suffering from bronchitis, Kreizenbeck delivered the speech instead.

Otter says more cuts needed

BOISE – Idaho Gov. Butch Otter has ordered another 3 percent cut from Idaho’s current state budget, on top of the 1 percent he trimmed in September. Layoffs of state employees are likely, there may be no raises at all next year for state workers, and Otter asked agencies to consider eliminating entire programs.