by Tom Loertscher
The other night I decided it was time get a haircut. As it usually happens a conversation breaks out between the haircutter and the client. Noticing that I was from out of town, she asked where I was from. I told her that I was from Eastern Idaho and she told me that she had never been east of Pocatello. She then asked me what brought me to Boise. I said, "Oh, I am one of those people that you may love to hate." She then asked, "Are you a senator?"
The preliminary revenue numbers for January are in and they indicate that we are up slightly from our projection at the end of last session. Even though that is the case there are still some fairly large holes in our budget. The budget still seems to dominate our conversation. The Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee is seeking input from the various committees about the department budgets. It's interesting that even during these tight economic times some of the departments continue to ask for increases and new line
items in their budgets. To the governor's credit he has eliminated most of those line items in his budget request to the legislature.
There have been a couple of controversial bills introduced in the State Affairs Committee. One is known as the Nullification Bill and the other is the Telecommunications Bill. We are anticipating a very large crowd to come on Wednesday for the Nullification Bill and are making preparations for the hearing to be held in the auditorium on the Senate side of the capital. Some are concerned that our taking action of this kind, especially after our court case about national health care legislation was declared to be completely unconstitutional, could be detrimental to our case. And as usual we are hearing from attorneys on both sides of this issue, one of them being the state Attorney General. It will be extremely interesting to see what the hearing provides in the way of good solid information for the committee.
As for telecommunications, that is a very long ongoing discussion that has been going on for several years between the various telecom companies and the cities. Some of the companies want us to change the law so that there is a statewide franchising system which would only require them to have to negotiate one contract for the whole state. As you can imagine our e-mail boxes have been filling up with comments from several of the cities. I think the members of the committee are taking a wait and see approach to see if some of the differences can be ironed out between the various parties concerned.
It seems that around here, as it is down on the farm, that sometimes the simple stuff is overlooked on the way to the solution to problems. The heater in the Suburban went on the blink and that was my weekend project. We tried everything, replacing the controls, tearing out the dash and checking the fan motor, checking all electrical connections and checking all the relays. It turned out to be a simple ground wire fault. Something so simple but so time consuming to solve. This may not be exactly how it works around here, but I have to think that there might be simpler solutions to solve our budget woes this year. Maybe this is just another one of those things that we love to hate.