February 22, 2010
Idaho Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter needs a lesson in politics. With the state facing a budgetary deficit, Otter has been trimming the state budget to weather this crisis. Every corner of the state government — including the University of Idaho — has felt the pinch.
Several weeks ago, in a rather rash move, the governor proposed cutting off all state money to Idaho Public Television.
IPTV operates four public television stations around Idaho, including UI's KUID. Otter's plan called for the state funding to be phased out over four years, but the public outcry over this proposal has forced the governor to rethink his decision.
In a recent guest editorial distributed to Idaho media, Otter admitted he never actually planned on cutting IPTV's funding. Apparently, he asked every agency to find ways to cut spending, and when IPTV told him there was no wiggle room in their budget, he made the threat to light a fire under them.
If this is true (there's always the possibility he's just covering up a bad idea), it's a bad policy. If Otter wanted to pressure IPTV to trim the budget, he should have done it in private. When the governor uses the press to pressure state agencies, it looks like the state is run by a headless group of bureaucrats who use the press to tattle to the people about each other.
Otter and the entire state government have a very serious task in front of them. Let’s see some cooperation, not mindless bluffing.
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Originally posted at http://www.uiargonaut.com/content/view/9673/49/
The Opinion posted here is provided by permission of its original publisher and does not necessarily reflect the views of Idaho Public Television.