Gov. C. L. "Butch" Otter announced a 1 percent holdback in all state agencies Friday but is also asking agencies to reserve another 1.5 percent of their budgets, just in case. So the $27.3 million holdback could be read as some $58 million that government cannot spend.
"Our budget situation is manageable," Otter said during a Friday afternoon press conference. "I take small relief that our economy here in Idaho is much better compared to my colleagues in other states."
Otter chose not to
raid rainy day funds--except in the case of public schools--to make up the difference.
"It's definitely raining," said Wayne Hammon, Division of Financial Management administrator. "The question is how long will the storm last."
Otter dismissed a question from BW on why building projects, like the capitol restoration that he attempted to halt at one point, were not put on hold, saying that is one-time money, not general fund.
Otter said the holdback would not affect essential services, but at Health and Welfare, the director is looking
at cuts in Medicaid payments to health care providers to make up $5.4 million in general fund cuts (which are coupled with a loss of some $10.2 million in federal matching funds).
Other H&W programs on the chopping block: an increase in daycare reimbursement rates and an anti-STD media campaign.