Quick turnaround on Otter stimulus dole


Uncle Butch has released his plan for spending $1.24 billion in Idaho-bound stimulus money, five days before his own self-imposed deadline.

It turned out that the only wiggle room he had -- the $44 million in State Fiscal Stability Fund money -- was pretty easy to dispatch.

"Spending the SFSF money for drinking water, waste water, and state highway needs is the quickest way to put the most Idahoans back to work," Otter declared in his report.

Rather than pick and choose projects (many of the 1,000+ requests the governor received from cities and counties were for this kind of infrastructure), Otter chose to give $15 million for clean water and clean water funds, managed by the Department of Environmental Quality and the remaining nearly $30 million to the Idaho Transportation Department for state highway improvements.

It's going to take us a little while to go through the info. The Legislature will be briefed tomorrow morning through the Joint Finance Appropriations Committee (which has a handy stimulus site of its own, by the way) and the governor will take questions from the media later Thursday morning.

It looks like Otter is endorsing Superintendent Tom Luna's plans for the education funds (which, as we understand it, mean a cut to education spending, to be filled in this year by the windfall) and Health and Welfare's plans for its monies, as well as the suggestions of many other agencies:
"The Governor recommends accepting this one-time federal assistance and that the Legislature review its implementation as part of the routine budget-setting process. Each entity already has in place the necessary structure, governance and reporting mechanisms to ensure the successful and efficient use of these additional funds."
The announcement kind of preempts this week's Unda', though we still made some good points, especially for all the poor schmos who thought they might get some from Butch. But, like we said, lots of good ideas folks -- including you Micron -- keep checking that Grants.gov deal.

In the photos sent by Otter spokesman Jon Hanian, everyone is smiling. Use your imaginations ...