Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Drop in state revenue predicted

Express Staff Writer

Idaho state officials are predicting that tax revenue for the 2009-10 fiscal year will bring in $173 million less than the amount forecast in the budget.

In a press release earlier this month, Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter said that the continuing recession could mean that at the end of the current fiscal year, which runs from July 1 through June 30, 2010, decreasing revenues could leave the budget $151.4 million short. Economists predicted at the beginning of the budget process that the state would complete the fiscal year with a $49.5 million surplus. The state approved a total budget of $2.5 billion for the current year.

"We have been here before," Otter said. "We have the experience, the tools and the commitment needed to address this situation while maintaining necessary public services."

Last fiscal year, the economic downturn led state lawmakers to withhold funding to state agencies, implement cost-saving and efficiency measures, and draw on reserve accounts to cover the difference between expenditures and revenues.

Otter said similar approaches could be taken this year as the recession continues.

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