Despite an improving economy, Idaho's state budget is in trouble. Governor Butch Otter ordered mid-year cuts of $99 million, but the budget still faces a shortfall of another $52 million. How bleak is the budget situation? One-in-five Idaho school districts have declared a financial emergency. Idaho's Medicaid program might have to eliminate 23 percent of the health benefits it provides to the state's poor and disabled. State prisons are housing 500 more offenders than a year ago, with $28 million less in funding.
Host Joan Cartan-Hansen talks with policymakers about the state's fiscal options, what cuts are on the table, and what choices the Governor and legislators will face when the new legislative session starts in January. Guests include Wayne Hammon, Administrator of Idaho's Division of Financial Management; Rep. Darrell Bolz (R-Caldwell), Vice Chair of the Joint Finance and Appropriations committee; and Rep. Wendy Jaquet (D-Ketchum), JFAC committee member.