BOISE -- Budget writers adopted Gov. C.L. Butch Otter's budget target, agreeing to a plan that foresees Idaho's state spending growing some 3 percent to $2.78 billion in 2014.
Rep. Maxine Bell, a Republican from Jerome and Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee's co-chair, will leave Idaho with a structurally balanced budget with enough money so that state government isn't left scrambling mid-year to find cash to pay for programs or agencies.
The plan sets aside $35 million into reserve funds, pays for increased state-employee benefit costs, and funds Otter's proposed personal property tax repeal.
It calls for Idaho spending $80 million more than last year.
Republican Sen. Dean Cameron of Rupert described the spending target as a ceiling, pointing out lawmakers can always decide to spend less money, if they decide against some proposals.