- Idaho Legislature Live, Idaho PTV
- Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter delivered his final State of the State address Jan. 8.
The governor began with some self-congratulations, saying, “Our books are balanced. Our fiscal obligations are being met. Our credit is strong. We are planning wisely, working collaboratively and investing sustainably.” He also waxed nostalgic, saying, “I’ve come a long way from a brash young revolutionary who served in this chamber and ran for governor with big ideas but precious little perspective.” Otter credited what he called "the benefit of experience earned through the patience and confidence of Idaho voters” for giving him what he said was a “more nuanced view of the proper role of government.”
Otter then unveiled specifics of his Executive Budget for Fiscal Year 2019, such as a 3-percent pay increase for state employees. His proposed spending plan also includes the following:
- The creation of a new position, an Executive Officer, to oversee Idaho higher education institutions.
- $28.8 million ($17.4 million from the General Fund and $11.4 million from the Millennium Fund) for the creation of an Idaho Health Care Plan, which would allow insurance companies to offer more affordable health insurance plans.
- Nearly $42 million for the fourth year of the career-ladder system for K-12 educators.
- $6.5 million to expand literacy intervention efforts for Idaho school children.
- An additional $5 million for college and career counseling.
- An additional $10 million for school technology, bringing the total annual investment in technology to $36 million.
It will ultimately be the work of the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee to hammer out the FY 2019 budget in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, the House and Senate will gavel in their regular order of business on Tuesday, Jan. 9.