The leading budget writer in the Idaho Senate says he expects the $1.58 billion public schools budget to get an up or down vote in the Senate Monday. The public schools budget was introduced as legislation in the Senate Wednesday and is available online. Sen. Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, one of the chairs of the budget-setting Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee (JFAC), says it will get a final Senate vote next week.
“I’d bet we’d be debating it on Monday,” he said. He added that he expects it to pass, but understands why some senators could oppose it or other agency budgets that would be reduced. “You want a reason to vote against them — there’s a ton of reasons.” Cameron said lawmakers have a constitutional obligation to balance the budget, and that lower revenues would necessitate lower spending. “We need to be prudent and responsible.” If the Senate approves the public schools budget, it would then head to the House.
Cameron said that lawmakers remain on track to end their session next Friday, March 26. “I’ll be personally disappointed if we can’t finish up by Friday,” he said. “But I’ve been disappointed before.” He compared the set of budget proposals that lawmakers need to approve before leaving Boise to a rickety wagon that could lose a wheel.