Idaho Democrats approve of more education funding

Credit: KTVB

Sen. Elliot Werk, D-Boise


by Andrea Lutz

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Posted on January 6, 2014 at 7:14 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 22 at 12:47 PM

BOISE -- The reaction to Gov. Butch Otter's State of the State address from the Democratic minority is about what is expected.  Many Democrats say they like the governor's plan to provide more spending in public schools, however, others feel dissatisfied.

Some Democrats wish the governor would have put more money into higher education, while others disagree with $35 million being set aside for the state's rainy day fund.

Lawmakers are speaking out about the governor's budget plans.

Many Democrats we spoke with feel the governor's plan for education is a step in the right direction, But while that's true, there could still be a lot of showboating in this election year.

“I think we’re in the election year phenomenon. And there are people in this state that are very desperate. They’ve lost their unemployment insurance at the federal level and they don’t have a job,” said Rep. Grant Burgoyne, D-Boise.

"Idaho Democrats appreciate the fact that the governor has now decided that we are going to move forward and commit to education, unfortunately we did look at his budget earlier and the budget reflects $30 million for a tax cut," Sen. Elliot Werk, D-Boise.  "We find that those priorities are sometimes a little twisted up here and we would really like to see the Legislature move forward on public schools, higher education. We know that is our future in our state, it gets us out of our low wage trap, tops in minimum wage and lowest personal income in the country at this point. We need to develop our economy and that means investing in education."

The governor created an education task force that was made up of 31 bipartisan leaders, so there is support from both Democrats and Republicans.

Twenty recommendations came from the education task force and Democrats already are making plans to implement some of those.  In December they unveiled a package of four bills.