Staggering Projections for the Next Fiscal Year

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The shoe dropped this afternoon at the Boise Centre, the scene of the annual meeting of Associated Taxpayers of Idaho. Fiscal year 2012 will be bad, really bad.

Cathy Holland Smith has one of the most depressing jobs in Idaho. She is tasked with budget and policy analysis for the state legislature. She's the lady with the numbers. And when times are bad, she's the lady with the bad numbers.

For the current fiscal year, Health and Welfare took at 25 perfect cut, Medicaid saw about 26 percent less than the previous year.

"But all bets are off for fiscal year 2012," said Smith.

Smith outlined how temporary stop-gap measures balanced the current state spending plan but almost all of them will disappear in the coming year. Smith said she doesn't expect any inflationary increases for state workers' pay or money to replace things like roofs and boilers.

Adding salt to the wound was Leslie Clement, Idaho's Medicaid Division Administrator.

"For our current fiscal year, we expect to have a $31.9 million dollar shortfall," said Clement. "But the cliff that we're staring at for 2012 is much worse. We're projecting a $206.6 million shortfall."