Idaho lawmakers are preparing to set a firm blueprint Friday for the last four months current state budget. The fiscal year 2010 budget has shrunk from $2.53 billion when the Legislature first approved it last year to $2.28 billion, based on diminishing tax revenues coming into the state. Many of the reductions came in Gov. Butch Otter’s 4 percent holdback to state agencies September. The draft proposal in the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee (JFAC) will balance the budget in part by raising those holdbacks to 7 percent, which will save $178 million. JFAC, which will set the budget on Friday, will also draw $53 million from reserve funds to avoid reductions to public schools in the current school year.
JFAC co-chair Rep. Maxine Bell spoke with IdahoReporter.com about the draft plan to balance the current budget. She said lawmakers need to take care of the current budget before dealing with the next budget for fiscal year 2011, which begins in July.
Bell said JFAC members will meet at 7 a.m. on Friday, one hour earlier than normal, to set the 2010 budget.
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