Idaho. Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter applauded Idaho’s citizen legislators this week for the efficiency, sensitivity and civic virtue with which they conducted the 2010 session, which ended late Monday.
The governor issued a list of 11 areas in which he and Legislature worked with a particular emphasis on collaboration this year, reflecting those fundamental principles and focused on the budget and on living within the means of Idaho taxpayers and employers:
2) The governor and Legislature worked together on securing the spending authority needed for the Idaho Education Network. This critical program will help equalize educational opportunities throughout our rural and vast state. We are asking for spending authority of a generous contribution from the Albertson Foundation – $6 million over two years. We will have 80 high schools hooked up by July 1, 2010 and need these funds to get 80 more completed over the next year. All of these efforts will result in more career opportunities for Idahoans.
3) The governor and Legislature worked together to create the Higher Education Stabilization Fund. It will be a useful and important tool to help stabilize funding for higher education, like the Public Education Stabilization Fund. More secure funding for Idaho’s higher education system ultimately will result in more stable career opportunities for Idahoans in the state’s institutions of higher education.
4) The governor and Legislature worked together on an enhanced tax credit for charitable contributions to particular State agencies. Finding additional revenue streams to fund these agencies will reduce the burden on the General Fund.
5) The governor and Legislature worked together on a plan for addressing Idaho’s “tax gap” through compliance staff enhancements based on quarterly “return-on-investment” accountability measures.
6) The governor and Legislature worked together on funding for the Correctional Alternative Placement Program (CAPP) facility, which will open in July 2010. Its goal is reducing costly crime and recidivism in our prison system. It will save Idaho taxpayers $29,000 per offender.
7) The governor and Legislature worked together on funding for the Comprehensive Aquifer Management Plan (CAMP): $2.2 million in State funding to leverage on-the-ground projects this year, and to keep the committee committed to staying at the table and finding a long-term funding solution for CAMP.
8) The governor and Legislature worked together on the Idaho Health Freedom Act – protecting the rights of Idaho to choose their own healthcare plan without being forced by the federal government to buy health insurance – and on an appeal to Congress to amend the U.S. Constitution to specifically ban such federal usurpation of states’ rights.
9) The governor and Legislature worked together to secure $12 million in GARVEE bonds, which would spur much-needed transportation projects and generate jobs statewide.
10) The governor and the Legislature worked together to save General Fund resources by revamping operations at the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation. The department now has business plans for each Idaho state park and has not closed any state parks as other states have done.
11) The governor and Legislature worked together to find efficiencies and save taxpayer dollars in Idaho’s human services commissions. The Human Rights Commission will be supported by the Idaho Department of Labor. The Council for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing will be supported by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare and Vocational Rehabilitation. A cooperative agreement was created for the Idaho Commission on Aging to co-locate with the Council for the Blind and Visually Impaired. And lastly, the Idaho Commission on Hispanic Affairs and Council for the Developmentally Disabled are moving to State-owned buildings.