BOISE -- Democratic leaders were encouraged by some of the governor's suggestions.

KTVB spoke with the democratic leaders in both the house and senate and they said they liked some of what Governor Otter proposed in Monday's State of the State speech.

Senate Minority Leader Edgar Malepeai supports the governor's incentive for businesses that create jobs.

The fact is we still have 70,000 unemployed Idahoans, said Senate Minority Leader Edgar Malepeai. If we do have these incentives for small businesses let's make sure that we create incentives that will bring in quality jobs, jobs that can sustain a family, jobs that an individual can sustain themselves.

The education department's budget was not reduced in the governor's proposal but Senator Malepeai, who sits on the education committee, says that still might not be enough to keep schools out of the red. He predicts it will force districts to turn to taxpayers for levies or bonds.

House Minority leader John Rusche also acknowledged a system based on teacher performance could work. -- but it needs more evaluation and money.

I also didn't see any funding for it, which means if you're going to give more to some and you're not changing the size of the pie, you're going to be give less to others which I think is going to be a difficult, difficult thing to do when most of our public schools are dealing with less money year after year, he said.

Rusche, a member of the Health and Welfare committee is concerned about the proposed $25 million cuts to the Health and Welfare department. With federal matches, Democratic leaders say the amount would be closer to $100 million dollars and jeopardizing those in need.

We're very mindful of the most vulnerable populations that we have, those with mental disabilities, those that require some help from some of our public agencies, said Senator Malepeai.

What we are going to be doing is pointing out what we view to be consequences, potential fallacies, things that have not been really looked at, said Rep. Rusche.

Rusche says the budget includes a lot of one-time monies, which could help them get through the next budget year.

It falls short, he says, of offering a plan or vision for future years.

Either way, Malepeai says the parties need to work together to come up with a resolution, and he looks forward to working with leaders on the other side of the aisle.

Read or Share this story: