Idaho’s legislative budget writing committee on Thursday agreed to cover the cost of a $27.5 million drafting error that could have cost the Idaho Transportation Department funding for some road projects.
Lawmakers passed a “surplus-eliminator” bill last year to divide any year-end surplus between the state’s rainy day fund – which is generally intended to backfill the budget in times of great need – and the department’s fund for road projects.
But a drafting error caused the amount not to be transferred to the department, and this year, Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter said he wouldn’t back the transfer because of his longstanding opposition to using the general fund, rather than gas taxes and vehicle registration fees, to cover roads.
The Spokesman-Review reported that the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee voted 19-0 to transfer the funds anyway, plus about $200,000 in interest.
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Paul Headlee, legislative budget director, told the joint committee that the money didn’t disappear, but is still sitting unused in the general fund because the bill authorizing the transfer last year inadvertently left out the words, “Sections 8 and 13.”
The measure still must pass both houses and get the governor’s signature before it can go into effect.