[Vision2020] Idaho JFAC Panel to Hear Testimony

Tom Hansen thansen at moscow.com
Sat Dec 18 08:39:27 PST 2010

It's about EFFING time!

Courtesy of today's (December 18, 2010) Spokesman-Review.


Key panel will hear testimony
Idaho budget committee takes new tack for weighty choices
Betsy Z. Russell

The Spokesman-Review  Tags: 2012 Idaho Legislature budget cuts JFAC
BOISE – The powerful joint committee that writes all budget bills in the
Idaho Legislature is also the only committee that’s never taken public
testimony – but it will this year.

With huge budget challenges facing the state, the Joint
Finance-Appropriations Committee is scheduling two public hearings in
January in the state Capitol where citizens can weigh in on school funding
and health and welfare programs.

“I just felt like it was important for us to give an opportunity for the
public to come and express their concerns and share with us their thoughts
and ideas,” said Sen. Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, co-chairman of the joint
committee. “Certainly when you have a budget challenge like we’re facing,
I think it requires that we not just do things the way we normally have
done them. I think it requires that we look for ways to involve more

The move comes as JFAC also plans to hold unprecedented joint budget
hearings with the House and Senate education and health and welfare
committees in the coming session – two areas that make up the largest
chunks of the state budget and where budgets are expected to be painfully

Last year, two North Idaho representatives, Eric Anderson, R-Priest Lake,
and House Education Chairman Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d’Alene, introduced
legislation late in the session to crimp the authority of the joint budget
committee to set policy or change laws – a role usually reserved for the
subject-matter committees in each house. As JFAC made sweeping budget
cuts, it had to temporarily suspend various state laws through its budget
bills to make the cuts legal.

The Anderson-Nonini bill didn’t advance, but Cameron said legislative
budget writers heard the message.

Anderson on Friday hailed the new approach. “I think it’s a really, really
important step forward to basically have better access and a better
review,” he said. “Hopefully it runs smoothly. Honestly, I don’t want to
make their work any more difficult, but I think it does answer some
questions that we raised. I’m very proud of them for doing that.”

The public hearing on the fiscal year 2012 schools budget will run from
8-11 a.m. on Jan. 21 in the Capitol auditorium; people who want to speak
will have three minutes apiece. On Jan. 28, similar rules will be in
effect for the public hearing on 2012 funding for health and welfare
programs, which also will run from 8-11 a.m.

Like all JFAC proceedings, the hearings will be streamed live on the

Sen. John Goedde, R-Coeur d’Alene, the Senate Education Committee
chairman, said, “I think it’s a healthy thing to do.”

He noted that his committee took public testimony on school funding cuts
last year. “I thought we got some pretty good input – so it can be done.”


Rest assured, V-Peeps, "Moscow Cares" will record these proceedings and
make them available online to y'all.

Tom Hansen
Moscow, Idaho

"The Pessimist complains about the wind, the Optimist expects it to change
and the Realist adjusts his sails."

- Unknown

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