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Politics & Government

Gov. Brad Little Calls For Budget Cuts Amid Less Rosey Economy

James Dawson
Boise State Public Radio

Gov. Brad Little is ordering most state agencies to cut their budget requests for next year in the face of an uncertain economy.

Little’s chief of staff Zach Hauge sent a memo to agency heads late last month, telling them to cut their current year budgets by 1% and to trim next year’s budget requests by 2%.

The K-12 education budget will not be affected, but colleges and universities will have to scale back their spending plans.

"Governor Little's #1 priority is education. He has said it is our moral and Constitutional obligation to ensure Idaho students are prepared for a lifetime of learning and eventual careers," Hauge wrote.

Tax receipts in Idaho have dropped $130 million from projections made in January. That’s because economists overestimated how much money they’d get after implementing new tax cuts.

Hauge characterized the move as a “spending reset."

"As employees of the State of Idaho and members of Governor Little's administration, we have a duty to prudently manage the people's money. The time to prepare for the inevitable economic slowdown is now – when times are good," he wrote.

That’s despite expectations that revenue will continue to grow, just at a slower pace.

Little will also ask the state Board of Examiners to let agencies shift around their cash to different budget lines without prior approval for the rest of the fiscal year that ends in June to help smooth over the cuts.

Agencies will need to have their slimmer spending plans ready by next week.

Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.

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