Idaho's elected officials are making their way back to the Capitol to prepare for the 2016 legislative session.
Today, Governor C. L. “Butch” Otter and legislative leadership spoke to reporters about their priorities. Topping the list is a balanced budget. An expected increase to tax receipts means lawmakers will fight to fund pet projects.
Leadership promises to continue to fund teacher pay increases. However, no clear direction is set for tax policy. Several cuts and raised are expected to be proposed.
One thing that is likely dead on arrival is a state-funded pre-kindergarten program. Despite support in both parties, House Speaker Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, cast aspersions on the idea.
"When kindergarten is not mandatory to be full time and to shoe-horn another year into the k-12 funding formula, I don't see that happening," he said.
Boise lawmakers say they will show off the new pilot pre-k classes to out of town legislators to show the potential of creating a state-wide pre-k program.