Their number is smaller (a loss of five seats in the House), but Democratic lawmakers launched their opposition to Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's State of the State Tuesday morning.
"Unfortunately, his view takes a very hands-off approach to our current situation," said House Minority Leader Rep. John Rusche. "Which is to say, in the face of enormous challenges and widespread economic hardships, the governor and many legislators have no plans to do anything significant. In fact, rather than being proactive, they've simply strengthened their resolve to dismantle the very public structures that help create prosperity."
"Here is where we may differ from the governor," said Rusche. "We believe that maintaining our public structures is essential to protecting the Idaho way of life for our families and our businesses. It is not 'tyranny' to feed hungry children, care for the disabled or educate workers."
When Citydesk asked Rusche about Otter's proposal to slash more than $25 million from the Department of Health and Welfare's Division of Medicaid, Rusche said the $25 million would translate to more than $100 million in overall Medicaid services and would hurt adult recipients the most.
"Forty years ago, these are people who would have been at the state hospital," Rusche told Citydesk. "But we decided as a society that we would not warehouse them. So what are we going to do now?"
Rusche said the end result could put more adults into Idaho correction system.
"If we end up with our law enforcement asking 'What the heck is going on?' we're going to define that as a crisis, because we would be doing things wrong, we would be hurting people and we would be wasting money."