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Budget committee allocates $150,000 for two new haircut investigators

Budget committee allocates $150,000 for two new haircut investigators

Dustin Hurst
February 23, 2016
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February 23, 2016

Maybe Idaho budget writers want to crack down on illegal haircuts, pedicures, manicures and eyebrow waxes.

Perhaps that’s not the case, but the Idaho Board of Cosmetology could soon have more help to investigate haircut scofflaws if state budget-writers have their way. A preliminary 2017 budget includes $150,000 for two new haircut investigators.

Members of the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee started setting fiscal year 2017 budgets Monday, signaling the beginning of the end of the 2016 legislative session.

Yesterday, the panel handled budgets from the Idaho Liquor Division, Department of Finance, Public Utilities Commission and other state agencies.

Among the spending plans set was the budget for the self-governing regulatory boards, mostly housed at the Idaho Bureau of Occupational Licensure.

Gov. Butch Otter’s proposed 2017 budget had suggested $7.46 million for the boards. In political poker fashion, the JFAC matched and raised the stakes; JFAC allocated $7.58 million. Overall, legislators approved an 11 percent spending increase for 2017.

For regulatory boards in 2016, Legislators had appropriated $6.83 million.

The budget includes nearly $70,000 more this year for employee benefits, plus more than $165,000 to increase salaries for board staffers.

The plan expands the state’s workforce by four employees -- two data specialists and the two haircut investigators.

In 2017, the two investigators’ salaries and benefits, one for North Idaho and the other for Pocatello, will cost more than $144,000. Budget analyst Keith Bybee said the new hires would cut down on some expenses because the Board of Cosmetology has been sending investigators to North Idaho from the Boise area.

The two new investigators will primarily handle cosmetology inquiries, but Bybee noted they might also be asked to work on other boards’ issues.

Two new data specialists, Bybee said, would address staffing needs caused by the Legislature’s appetite for creating new regulatory boards each year. Budget documents note the Legislature has created three new boards in the past two years. The two new data specialists, Bybee said, will help staffers keep up with workflow.

The budget also included $100,000 to update the state’s real estate licensing system, which Bybee characterized as out of date.

Panel members approved the budget on a 19-to-0 vote. Rep. Luke Malek, R-Coer d’Alene, was the only committee member to miss the vote.

This budget uses no money from the state general fund, rather budget revenue is derived from fees charged to workers in the professions governed by the regulatory boards.

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