Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Meridian Election March 3rd!!!

I just received an email from one of our Meridian neighbors asking me about the school bond election on March 3rd. I had to say, I had no idea that there was going to be a bond election and needed to do some research.

Below is the announcement of the Levy Election that will be held a week from today. I do not know how else this has been published, but thought it would be good to let my readers know. I would suggest that if you have questions, call the District offices at 855-4500.

This from the Meridian District 2 Web Site:

Supplemental Levy Election March 3, 2009

The district will be holding a supplemental levy election Tuesday, March 3, 2009.

The levy will ask voters whether or not to give the Board of Trustees authority to raise up to $10 million per year for each of the next two years.

Supplemental levies must be approved by the voters every two years. The current supplemental levy, which also raises $10 million per year, is set to expire this year.

Revenue generated by the supplemental levy must be used for district operations like staffing, teaching materials, etc. Unlike a plant facility levy or bond levy, supplemental levy revenue cannot be used for building construction.

The levy rate that provides local support for Meridian District Schools will remain the same if voters approve the proposed supplemental levy.

All schools will be polling places, and voters living in Joint School District No. 2 can vote at any polling place. Unregistered voters can register at the polls the day of the election. The polls will be open from 8 am until 8 pm.


Monday, February 23, 2009

The Cost of Stimulus to Idaho...

There seems to always be a cost for everything, nothing I've found is really free. One of the costs that we here in the Capital just realized is that the stimulus bill will be costing Idaho citizens just to look at it.

A study was done many years ago that broke out what it costs the state for guys like me and all the support staffs to be here to make the decisions of the state. That number was around $30,000.00 per day or about $90k per month. I suspect that number is higher these days, but none the less the timing of the stimulus bill is going to keep the Legislature in session for a longer period. How long no one really knows, but we were on track to finish around the 3rd week of March. I would venture a guess that we've tacked on another 20 days at least with the potential for a special session later in the year. We are very likely to twist in the wind for a few more days while we continue to figure out just what parts of the stimulus we want and don't want. The Gov's direction to his departments is to get him their recommendations for their budgets by March 4th....

The Legislature was ready to start setting budgets this week, the delay in re-looking will delay that process and the staff and Legislators could be here through April and into May depending on what is selected to be put in the budgets and the reactions of the Legislators to those selections.

I'm not saying that we should not stay and do the state's business... but these costs all roll up into a big bill at the end of the year that you and I pay for with our taxes.

Nothing is ever free...


Friday, February 20, 2009

The Idaho Stimulus...

Margaret Thatcher once said, "The trouble with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money"

We are trying to determine the current revenue rate of the state for 2010 to set our budget. As required by the Idaho Constitution, we are required to have a balanced budget at each year's end. Forecasted revenue for 2010 is down, way down and budget setting was to begin next week. That budget would be reflective of Idaho's economy and would become, as is the 2009 budget, the baseline for budgeting in 2011 and so on.

With the new stimulus package from Washington DC being set up for the Gov's office to request funds in the next 45 days, creates some issues. The Executive branch will have to understand what the 1100 page law now is and how to use those funds to meet the needs of Idaho, while not wrapping Idaho up with federal strings that typically come with "free money". But the Gov can not execute those funds unless they have been authorized by the Legislature (and in the stimulus bill, they kind of forgot to include that process).

We have put the normal budgeting process on hold to better understand just how the Legislative and Executive branches can most effectively and efficiently meld the funds into our process to move forward.

In my humble opinion, we need not knee jerk and do something silly before we truly understand the size of the tiger's tail we are about to grab. It makes sense to me to set our budget on what we know today and follow that up with a "stimulus supplemental" bill to keep the two separate. I don't think we will continue to get "socialist money" forever and need to ensure we are able to keep sight of what our true Idaho revenue and costs are to run our state.

One-time money rolled into our budget will cloud our process and our thinking.

Your thoughts?