There are very few Idahoans who can speak with great authority about Gem State spending. Mike Ferguson is at the top of the list. After more than a quarter of a century serving Republican and Democratic governors as Idaho's chief economist, Ferguson now leads the Idaho Center on Fiscal Policy, crafting nonpartisan information and analysis.
You would think that Ferguson would be the primary source of independent analysis when Idaho lawmakers play their annual guessing game, aka crafting a state budget.
"If a legislative committee asks me to testify, I'm more than happy to do that, but I don't go and testify in favor of, or against, specific legislation," Ferguson told Boise Weekly. "My role is to provide fact-based analysis into the public realm and let them deal with it as they see appropriate."
In particular, BW spent some time talking with Ferguson about an idea from Republican lawmakers—including Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter—to eliminate the business personal property tax.
"Frankly, it makes no sense," said Ferguson.