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Iowa's governor has restored the right to vote for people with past felony convictions via executive order; and Tennessee has a primary election today.

Economist: ID Should Think Again About Saying “No” to Uncle Sam’s Wallet

December 8, 2008

Boise, ID – Idaho state agencies will be looking this week at how to trim another three percent from spending, after the latest order from Governor Otter reflecting falling state revenues.

Most states are facing income shortfalls because of the economic downtown, and most governors are asking the federal government for a rescue package. Gov. Otter says Idaho won't do that, however, because it would increase the federal deficit.

Economist Judy Brown with the Idaho Center on Budget and Tax Policy disagrees with Otter's decision. In her view, Idaho should say "yes" to federal money.

"In the last recession, State of Idaho got $50 or $60 million from the federal government, which really saved our bacon and helped make the recession in Idaho very shallow."

Brown explains that deficit spending during a recession is good economic policy, and a policy that has helped the nation survive previous downturns, although not all economists agree. Some discourage federal deficits, citing concern about about how and when the money could be paid back.

Brown says federal money may come Idaho's way whether the state requests it or not. If so, she advises it be put to use to shore up the health insurance safety net, especially for children.

"We're going to have more and more people without health insurance. One of the best things we can do with that money is to make sure that children in working families have health insurance."

Since September, state budget cuts in Idaho already total more than $130 million.

Deborah Smith/Deb Courson, Public News Service - ID