The 2018 Idaho Legislature is officially underway.
Tuesday morning, the Joint Finance Appropriations Committee got their first look at the proposed 2019 fiscal year budget from Gov. Butch Otter.
For the most part, legislators got a look at the proposal just last night. Because of that, some lawmakers say for now it's too early to really give a detailed response to everything.
Several legislators told KTVB though that it appears the governor did deliver on his promise to focus on education.
During the hour-long JFAC session, the Governor's Office presented the highlights of his budget.
Overall, Otter is proposing a 6.62 percent increase from last year's budget.
That would bring the state budget to about $3.67 billion for fiscal year 2019, which starts this upcoming July and runs until through June 2019.
The majority of the budget proposed by Otter would be spent on education, about 63 percent.
That includes increasing public schools funding by $123 million, including $42 million more to boost Idaho teachers' salaries.
Republican member of JFAC, Rep. Rick Youngblood of Nampa, says overall he thinks the budget looks good, especially when it comes to helping students develop into the employees of the future.
"We've got to get at his focus with work force development. I think it is excellent bringing someone in as CEO and a whole new council is an excellent idea because Idaho is not the only state with a shortage of work force development, it's throughout the Northwest and the U.S.," said Youngblood.
As Youngblood referenced, Otter is asking lawmakers to create a “Chief Education Officer” to help develop the state's postsecondary system.
According to the proposed budget, the chief education officer would have a $200,000 annual salary. An additional $500,000 is proposed for one-time consulting costs.
Another big item from the budget, the governor recommends investments in health and human services to help Idahoans.
That includes his proposed Idaho Health Care Plan that would cost more than $100 million.
The budget also calls for close to $3 million to expand capacity for the Idaho Department of Correction.
Some other items also included in the budget, $2.56 million for behavioral health community crisis centers, $2 million for state park repair and maintenance, and $46.7 million for Idaho Department of Transportation construction projects.
Idaho lawmakers will now work to balance and arrange the state budget.