Absent tax increases, balancing Idahos budget next year means cutting about $340 million, or 14 percent of the states budget.
When Gov. Butch Otter submits a balanced budget for fiscal 2012 on Jan. 10, hell do it without $1.12 billion drawn from the federal stimulus and the states rainy-day accounts that kept spending in the black the past three years. Following tradition, Otters staying quiet, saving the drama for the first day of the Legislature.
But the leaders of the 20-member Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee are readying the field for battle. They used their fall meeting Monday and Tuesday to focus on the scale of the shortfall. Their aim: to inform the public and the 85 legislators less familiar with budgeting.
The hole is too big for JFAC to solve alone, said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Dean Cameron, R-Rupert. Were going to need help from the germane committees, including those overseeing Medicaid and education.
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