March 2, 2021
Idaho’s first female Lt. Governor, Janice McGeachin, has been fighting for Idahoans freedoms and supporting citizen involvement in government through the weekly Capitol Clarity meetings. That work doesn’t appear to sit well with some legislators. Today, Representative Scott Syme made a motion in the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee (JFAC) to cut the already modest $184,900 budget for her office by over 10% and to eliminate one of the offices three full-time positions.
Lt. Governor McGeachin posted on social media regarding the move, saying, “Today, JFAC, on a vote of 13-6, chose to kneecap my Office’s $184,900 budget request by $19,200 (10.4%) and to eliminate one of our three full-time positions. Keep in mind one of these three positions is the elected Lieutenant Governor and another is my chief of staff. I have used our Office’s third FTP on an as-needed basis, employing several young people since I took office. We recently hired a lovely young woman who is already proving to be a tremendous asset to our Office.
Many people may not realize just how conservative the Lt. Governor’s Office budget is compared to Idaho’s other constitutional officers. For FY 2022, the Governor’s Office is requesting a budget of $25.8 million including 1,059 FTPs. The smallest office other than mine is the State Treasurer with a budget request of $1.46 million including 26 FTPs.
Rep. Scott Syme, who made the motion to cut our budget, reached out to my Office two weeks ago asking if I would support reducing my budget and FTPs. I replied with a detailed letter (attached below) explaining why such cuts would negatively affect our ability to fulfill the duties of the Office and to effectively engage in constituent services. It is not surprising when liberal Democrats attempt to obstruct elected Republicans and to reduce their ability to serve their constituents, but it is disheartening to witness such actions on the part of a fellow Republican.
JFAC budgets are not final. Perhaps either the House or the Senate will choose to vote down this radical budget reduction and thereby force JFAC to consider restoring the cuts. Specifically targeting the already small budget of Idaho’s first female Lt Governor seems punitive.