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Gary Crooks reports that, on Friday, Spokesman-Review columnist Shawn Vestal explored Olympia’s budgetary shell games, finding that both parties use gimmicks to avoid some spending cuts. In Boise, the game is played differently, with the goal being greater spending cuts and, ultimately, tax cuts for the not-so-needy.

To illustrate the point, let’s start on June 30, the end of the past fiscal year. It was then that Idaho discovered it had $85.3 million more in revenue than projected. Had legislators chosen the forecast of then-chief economist Mike Ferguson, they would’ve had an excess of only $11.5 million. Former Gov. Cecil Andrus was so certain that current Gov. Butch Otter and the Legislature were low-balling expected revenue that he bet Otter $100 that Ferguson’s number would be more accurate. Andrus, of course, knows how the game is played, so it was easy money.

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