Proposal Would Disperse Millions To Idaho Communities Reeling From Winter Weather

Mar 2, 2017

A proposal making its way through the legislature would tap Idaho's budget surplus to pay for repairs from winter storm damage.
Credit US Air Force / Flickr Creative Commons

Heavy snow has damaged roads, caused roofs to collapse and made this winter one for the record books. With spring just around the corner, a proposal to spend $52 million to help the state clean up and repair damage from the blistering winter is gaining traction.

State budget writers approved tapping Idaho's financial surplus to help fix flood and storm damage. The money still needs to be approved by the state Senate and House before being doled out. The state's finance committee says it'll attach an emergency clause to the bill allowing the funds to be accessed immediately.

House Speaker Scott Bedke said he expects the measure to pass in his chamber. He says he would have preferred taking the funds from the state’s firefighting fund, which has around $63 million in it.

“We’re not going to have any fires to fight here for a while. So, we could’ve taken the money out of the fire fund – the same 52 million,” Bedke said at a luncheon on Wednesday. “If you don’t like the fire fund, you could’ve taken it out of the rainy day fund; if you didn’t like that, there’s probably some other fund we could’ve taken it out of.”

Despite Bedke’s differing opinion, he says he supports the concept of getting assistance to affected communities as quickly as possible.

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