[Vision2020] Otter cutting help for families ... AMID BUDGET SURPLUS
vpschwaller at gmail.com
Sat May 19 11:06:14 PDT 2007
Oh Dear - I can't let this one get away. Some my find this to be
juveline and sarcastic, but other may find it on point. Time will
tell. . . .
". . .the governor is eliminating $1.5 million in early-childhood and
family programs next month for fear of declining federal funds."
I believe this is offered up as a "bad thing" however Mr Hansen
states, defending MSD's spending freeze:
"The Moscow School District has frozen its budget (and put several
teachers on notice, I might add) as a precautionary measure . . .
(because) It is what big boys and girls do. . . when the possibility
exists that the money they were promised . . .might not be realized."
This spending freeze is however, a "good thing."
On 5/19/07, Debbie Gray <graylex at yahoo.com> wrote:
> Otter cutting help for families
> Plan comes amid budget surplus
> Betsy Z. Russell
> Staff writer, Spokesman Review
> May 18, 2007
> BOISE – Idaho has a $75 million budget surplus,
> legislative leaders learned Thursday, but the governor
> is eliminating $1.5 million in early-childhood and
> family programs next month for fear of declining
> federal funds.
> "It's a problem with the funding stream," said Jon
> Hanian, Gov. Butch Otter's press secretary.
> Among the cuts: $800,000 in federal welfare funds that
> Idaho now directs to the Parents as Teachers program,
> a program that was highlighted in the "What Works"
> feature as part of last month's Spokesman-Review
> series on child abuse, "Our kids: Our business."
> Contract termination notices have gone out to all
> providers receiving those funds, saying their
> contracts with the state will end June 15.
> It's not yet clear how far-reaching the impact will
> be; some of those programs also have other funding
> sources, but smaller ones may not. The program
> provides education and resources to parents of young
> children from before birth to kindergarten.
> "There has been no discussion about the merits of the
> program," said House Minority Leader Wendy Jaquet,
> D-Ketchum. "You just don't, you don't do it this way."
> The Legislative Council, which includes legislative
> leaders from both houses and both parties along with
> other senators and representatives, voted Thursday to
> ask the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee to
> investigate what's in the state budget for Parents as
> Teachers and what the governor is planning. The joint
> budget committee has its summer meeting June 4-6.
> Otter also is eliminating the Executive Office for
> Families and Children and most of the programs it
> oversees on June 15, and laying off the state
> employees in that office. In addition to Parents as
> Teachers, the office includes the Council on
> Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention, the Governor's
> Coordinating Council for Families and Children, the
> Suicide Prevention Council, and more; some of those
> functions will be moved into the Health and Welfare
> Department. He's also considering eliminating $1.5
> million in federal funds that Idaho directs each year
> to the Head Start preschool program, which lawmakers
> allocated to Head Start in 1999 to expand it to 300
> more low-income children.
> Lawmakers said they had no idea the governor was
> making the cuts until news reports surfaced this week.
> "What I know is what I read in the newspaper, and
> that's all," said Senate President Pro-Tem Bob Geddes,
> R-Soda Springs.
> Senate Minority Leader Clint Stennett, D-Ketchum,
> asked, "The Legislature passed the appropriation for
> the Parents as Teachers – how can that be summarily
> dismissed and canceled?"
> Legislative budget director Cathy Holland-Smith
> responded that the item is within the child welfare
> appropriation of the state Health and Welfare budget
> but didn't have a specific line item.
> The program was started by former Gov. Dirk Kempthorne
> through an executive order after lawmakers rejected
> it, but they've made no move to remove it from the
> budgets they approved each year since then.
> Jaquet said, "My parent educator told me that (former
> Gov.) Jim Risch signed a yearlong contract with the
> federal government. They knew that they were set for
> this year. … It was embedded in the budget."
> Rep. Eric Anderson, R-Priest Lake, who serves on the
> council, said, "It just raises a lot of questions, and
> I'm certain there are good reasons, because I don't
> think the intention of the executive branch would be
> to do any harm."
> Anderson added, "JFAC will get to the bottom of it."
> Sen. Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, JFAC co-chairman, who
> attended the meeting, said, "I'm like Sen. Geddes –
> the only thing I've basically read is what's been in
> the paper." Cameron said he was "very comfortable"
> with the council's request. "I think we ought to have
> the opportunity to review it," he said.
> He added, "There have been some legitimate questions
> over time about the cost-effectiveness of the
> programs. … The executive branch does have the
> authority to run their agencies and make sure that the
> money is handled appropriately when we're not here in
> Hanian said the governor's office has merely been
> reacting to a legislative audit that suggested there
> could be problems directing federal welfare funds to
> the Generation of the Child programs and Head Start.
> Though the federal government hasn't objected to that
> funding in past years, last year it objected to using
> Temporary Assistance to Needy Families money for an
> immunization registry and for poison control, and the
> state audit suggested these programs could be rejected
> Idaho's legislative auditor, Don Berg, was questioned
> by the Legislative Council on Thursday, and he said he
> hasn't even been able to publicly release the audit
> yet because he's waiting for the JFAC co-chairs to
> sign off on it.
> "It's all alarming news to me," Berg told the council.
> The audit questioned the use of the federal welfare
> funds, and the Health and Welfare Department responded
> that they are allowable costs under the program. "And
> now it's a surprise to have the governor pulling these
> things," he said.
> Hanian said, "We're trying to find and identify what
> our options may be, in terms of funding for some of
> these programs. We don't have a solution yet, but what
> we have to do is get these programs off this funding
> Hanian said that doesn't necessarily mean that all the
> programs will be eliminated – some other funding could
> be identified.
> "We've gotten calls here from people who think we're
> killing Head Start.
> "That's just flat-out wrong," he said.
> But the governor did decide to move ahead with the
> other cuts.
> "The approach was, we're going to do that first and
> then, over the course of the next couple weeks, figure
> out what our alternatives are in terms of funding
> them," Hanian said.
> The council's vote followed news that Idaho has an
> unexpected $75 million budget surplus for this year,
> thanks to a huge overrun in individual income tax
> revenues in April.
> If that growth proves permanent, the state could have
> a $100 million surplus in the budget lawmakers already
> have set for the next fiscal year, which starts July
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