Idaho lawmakers are getting ready to begin the first day of what could be one of the most challenging legislative sessions in recent history.
The 2011 Legislature opens today featuring Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter’s State of the State Address.
Otter will lay out his budget and other priorities during his speech at 1 p.m.
Then it’s on to the tough decisions ahead.
The state is facing a projected budget deficit of $340 million for next year, and the gap could mean more cuts in public education, Medicaid and other programs.
Otter and lawmakers say they are encouraged by a slight increase in state revenue. So far this fiscal year, revenues are about $30 million ahead of targets.
But the early message from Republican leaders is more cuts to programs may be unavoidable.