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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 


For the week of June 18 - 24, 2003

Editorials

Who looks like 
Pinocchio now?


 

When agencies coughed up $20 million last week to slow the state’s headlong rush into red ink just as the end of the budget year neared, Idaho’s leading budget slashers cried "Foul!"

They alleged that agency chiefs in the Kempthorne administration had hidden the cash from the Legislature and should have coughed it up sooner--so the slashers could remove it permanently from their grasp.

When the miracle cash showed up, Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee co-chair Rep. Delores Crow, R-Nampa, questioned the honesty of the agency chiefs. In testimony before the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee, they had claimed that the deep cuts proposed by the Legislature would irreparably harm public safety and education.

Co-chair Sen. Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, accused Gov. Dirk Kempthorne’s administration of exploiting public sympathy and exaggerating the effects of cuts.

Granted, cries over cuts to a veterans’ transportation program turned out to be crocodile tears.

Yet, what was the administration to do when facing a legislative harvesting machine gone mad?

Agency chiefs took the right approach. They quit filling open jobs while the Legislature dithered over budget cuts. They saved new employees from the distressing and expensive experience of being hired and then axed when the Legislature made up its mind. They also saved the state money, money they weren’t sure would be in the pipe next year.

Crow and Cameron are too quick to try to lay the state’s budget woes on the doorstep of the agency chiefs. If Cameron and Crow really want to identify the source of dishonesty in state budget discussions, they have only to look in the mirror.

The faces looking back would look a lot like Pinocchio—with the nose growing longer with every little twist of the truth.

The Legislature itself strangled state revenues with its ill-advised tax permanent tax cuts. Crow and Cameron barricaded those cuts and made them untouchable even as the red ink rose.

It’s not the governor or the agency chiefs who should be looking for nose jobs.

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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.