New budget year, new budget cuts: Little orders 5 percent reductions

Just days into a new budget year, Gov. Brad Little has announced a new round of budget cuts.

Little has ordered agencies to cut spending by 5 percent, as Idaho tries to weather the economic storm from the coronavirus pandemic. James Dawson of Boise State Public Radio reported Tuesday on the governor’s order.

Little’s order will cut state spending by about $200 million, and agencies must submit revised spending plans by July 15, Dawson reported.

For K-12 — which represents nearly half of the overall state budget — these cuts have been in the winds for weeks.

In May, Little told school leaders to plan on a 5 percent cut, trimming the K-12 budget by $99 million. Little outlined a series of spending reductions, including a one-year freeze of the teacher “career ladder” that funds pay raises, and a $10 million cut in state funding for classroom technology.

But Little’s order means all state agencies will face a 5 percent cut. For higher education, that translates to about a $15 million reduction.

For K-12, higher education and all state agencies, this represents Round Two of pandemic-driven belt-tightening. In late March, Little issued a 1 percent across-the-board budget cut — a $19 million hit on K-12, and a $3 million hit on higher education.

That 1 percent cut affected 2019-20 state budgets. The new budget year began July 1, and the 5 percent cuts will come from 2020-21 budgets.



Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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