Governor, Republicans Risk Injury in Patting Each Other on Back

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Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter and Republican lawmakers spent the better part of Tuesday morning congratulating each other on what they call "fiscal responsibility."

Idaho's Office of State Controller reports that fiscal year 2010 will end with a balanced budget—after a transfer of $8.26 million from the State's Permanent Building Fund to the General Fund. The amount is a bit more than estimated by the Division of Financial management due to lower-than-anticipated tax revenues in June.

"Some people vigorously opposed our cautious, conservative approach to budgeting, and some still do," said Otter. "They glom on to every inflated projection, urge us to spend millions of dollars in make-believe money, and have nothing but contempt for any other view."

The governor was flanked by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Dean Cameron, a Rupert Republican, who echoed, "Today's figures reaffirm the necessity of the actions we took and represent careful, prudent stewardship." Other Republicans joined today's chorus including House Speaker Lawerence Denney, from Midvale, and House Majority Leader Mike Moyle from Star.

While extolling their budget numbers, the chorus did not mention some other figures:

7.5 percent: Cuts to Idaho K-12 public schools
8.7-9.5 percent: Increase in tuition at Idaho's public universities and colleges
42.5 percent: Idaho's increase in food stamp participation in the past year