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Monday, March 16, 2015

Idaho Ed News: Dems Have Alternative Ed Funding Plan

Posted By on Mon, Mar 16, 2015 at 12:04 PM

While the Idaho Legislature's budget writing committee continues to draw water from a stone, in an attempt to pass a bare-bones K-12 education spending plan, two Boise Democratic lawmakers say they're already preparing a counterplan to provide more funding for schools than the budget that they fear will surface.

Idaho Ed News reports that Reps. John Gannon and Phyllis King, both minortiy members of the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee, say their plan is $29.5 million on top of the 7.4 percent increase already proposed by Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter.

"Our proposal moves kids to the front of the line," King told Idaho Ed News.

JFAC has already pushed its budget-setting session for K-12 public schools back by a full week and hasn't yet rescheduled a date to vote on a spending plan. Much of that delay has been pushed by the House Education Committee, which is still wrangling with a proposed career ladder that met with significant pushback during last week's public testimony from teachers throughout Idaho.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

AP: Balukoff Outspending Otter on TV Ads

Posted By on Wed, Sep 24, 2014 at 9:48 AM

Democratic contender for governor A.J. Balukoff has outspent incumbent Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter on television ads, Kimberlee Kruesi of the Associated Press reports.

The nonpartisan Center for Public Integrity released an analysis of political television ads Wednesday that concluded that Balukoff had spend more than $500,000 on some 2,800 statewide television advertisements by Sept. 8. During the same period, Otter spent almost $121,000 on more than 500 political television ads.

The analysis determined that the ads have not attacked the candidates' opponents. The report did not include information about radio, online or direct mail ads, nor did it include information about money spent on local cable channels or production costs, and full political ad spending may be much higher for both candidates. 

According to the report, spending on television ads is sharply higher this campaign season than it was in 2010, when Idaho gubernatorial candidates spent a total of $161,440 for 1,391 ads.
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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Things That Go Vote in the Night: Idaho Dems' Pre-Election Halloween

Posted By on Wed, Oct 31, 2012 at 11:21 AM

Ada County Democratic Chairwoman Colleen Fellows dons a cow costume at the Boo, Brew and Blue event.
  • Idaho Democratic Party
  • Ada County Democratic Chairwoman Colleen Fellows dons a cow costume at the Boo, Brew and Blue event.

Tuesday night, the Idaho Democratic Party hosted a party partly to celebrate Halloween, but with a week before Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, it also offered a chance to talk politics.

Billed as a "Boo, Brew and Blue" party, the event included live music by local musicians, food and a costume contest at the Visual Arts Collective in Garden City.

"[The goal] was really three-fold," said Dean Ferguson, spokesman for the Idaho Democratic Party. "One, it was a fundraiser, so any extra funds above cost, which were really low, go to our voter mobilization campaign, which is basically get out the vote. Also, anybody who registered to vote got in at a lower price. And the third one was to have fun."

Ferguson guessed about 100 people came out, including some in costumes. One man dressed in a grim reaper outfit while another woman wore a 1040 personal income tax form.

Two things inevitable in life: death and taxes.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Democrats respond to State of the State

Posted By on Tue, Jan 13, 2009 at 11:27 AM

Democrats in the Legislature responded to the governor's budget priorities this morning with a formal message that raising taxes for road building while cutting public schools is not acceptable.

But the real response began yesterday, in the lobby of the Boise 
State University Special Events Center where one of the best displays of political theater since, well, Larry Craig, played itself out.

A television reporter asked Otter if he was choosing "potholes over people," to which he responded: "Are you suggesting that we take money out of transportation and put it into social services?" Otter first directed the question back at the reporter and then at Democrats.

Assistant House Minority Leader James Ruchti walked to the podium and delivered a short speech ending with the reminder that Otter is proposing a tax hike.

Otter quickly wrapped up the presser and bee-lined it over to Ruchti and Minority Leader John Rusche, cameras and reporters honing in on the impromptu repartee. Capital Confidential caught the whole thing on a shaky video device. The chat ended with some kind of invitation to breakfast.

Caldwell Republican John McGee, who moments before had taken Otter's spotlight as well to point out that road building creates jobs for Idahoans, looked on aghast, shaking his head as reporters relished this actual public airing of disagreement, a rare occurrence in a body often too polite to govern.

Alas, when Democrats regrouped this morning at the Annex, they had no specific rebuttal to Otter's budget, only stating that they had different priorities and reiterating that a bit more of the reserves ought to be tapped.

After two years of "do nothing" legislatures, the state now must play catch up, Rusche said: "Last fall, however, our chronically unfinished business collided with the worst economic downturn in decades and now the crisis we face is even worse."

Sen. Kate Kelly, acting minority leader, questioned layoffs at the tax commission, budget cuts in economic development and raising gas taxes while cutting schools. And she called anew for local option taxing and green jobs.

But neither offered a solution to the declines in revenue to the state aside from dipping further into reserves.

"We need to use a portion of these funds and we must use them appropriately," Rusche said.

The state's four reserve funds now hold $389.8 million. Otter is proposing that $60.7 million be used this year to keep public schools whole and that $75.7 million be used next year, none of which would go to public schools. That taps the state's savings by almost 35 percent.

If half of the savings are used, it would amount to $194.9 million, $134.2 million of which could be used to shore up the 2010 budget. Based on the governor's forecast of less than one percent growth in general fund revenue in 2010, Otter is cutting $216.9 million from his 2010 budget.

Sorry, that's a lot of numbers.  Point is, there is enough in reserves to make the budget whole, but it's nearly all of the savings. So what's going to get cut? Or, as we ask in tomorrow's Unda' the Rotunda column, does she really need cutting?

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