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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Otter defends health insurance cut

Gov. Butch Otter is defending a move to sharply increase health insurance costs for part-time state employees, even though some will face premiums that exceed their take-home pay. "This is the same thing the city of Boise does, the University of Idaho does, every company in the private sector that I know of, does the very same thing," Otter said Wednesday. "If you're a part-time employee, you receive part-time benefits. So I say we're being competitive with the marketplace."

Grocery tax credit hike may be held

BOISE – Idaho Gov. Butch Otter would consider delaying a scheduled increase in the state’s grocery tax credit, possibly saving the state from another $15 million-plus in budget cuts next year that could hit public schools. “There’s cost vs. value there,” Otter said in an interview with the Twin Falls Times-News editorial board; the governor’s office posted a link to video of his comments on the state’s Web site. “I think we would suffer if we can’t do all that’s possible to do for K-12.”

Mussels program draws mixed reviews in first year

State recreation officials say they have raised more than $776,000 this year from a program to raise money for boat inspections and keeping a pair of invasive mussels out of Idaho waters.

Idaho road funding about half of what was expected

BOISE - The $54 million transportation funding compromise that ended Idaho’s second-longest legislative session this year has now shrunk to about $28 million, far less than Gov. Butch Otter said was needed right away to keep Idaho’s roads up to par.

Budget tighteners say they spread the lack of wealth

BOISE – When Gov. Butch Otter divided state agencies into three groups for varying levels of budget cuts, some wondered why elected officials made the top “critical and constitutionally required services” group, while higher education was in the middle “essential services” group and water resources and environmental quality were in “other services.” The top group saw new mid-year budget cuts of 2.5 to 5 percent; the “essential” middle group, mostly 6 percent; and the “other” group, mostly 7.5 percent.

Otter announces more budget cuts

BOISE – Idaho Gov. Butch Otter on Friday announced 4 percent cuts in the state budget, effective immediately, to make up about two-thirds of the state’s $151 million budget shortfall. “Yes, it’s going to be painful, but it’s also necessary,” Otter said.

Otter orders new Idaho budget cuts

Gov. Butch Otter has announced 4 percent cuts in the state budget, effective immediately, to make up about two-thirds of the state's $151 million budget shortfall in the current year. The governor said for the remaining $50 million of the shortfall, he's planning to work with state agency directors to find additional savings. “If we can’t, then there will be a discussion with the Legislature on how we can ease the pain with those rainy-day funds,” Otter said.