State Of The State

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

In Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter’s final State of the State address Monday, education loomed large. One of his proposals is to hire a chief education officer for public colleges and universities.

AP Photo/Otto Kitsinger

In his final State of the State address, Gov. Butch Otter (R) unveiled a significant tax cut and an ambitious healthcare plan to cover high-risk individuals under Medicaid.

AP

Update, 1:08 p.m.:

Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's top priority for Idaho lawmakers is to focus on education in 2017.

Otter announced his short wish list during his annual State of the State address Monday afternoon.

The Republican governor proposed a 4.6 percent increase — roughly a $189 million funding bump — to the state's overall budget. More than 60 percent of that would go toward education, including more funding for teacher salaries and higher education facilities.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter began outlining his budget and policy priorities for state lawmakers during his "State of the State" address Monday afternoon, naming public education as his primary focus for the year.

The annual speech kicks off the start of the legislative session, with state lawmakers, members of the judiciary and other leaders gathered in the Idaho Statehouse to hear Otter's remarks.

Otter reminded lawmakers of the state's constitutional requirement to provide a general, uniform and free public school system. He proposed a 7.9 percent increase to the state's public education budget. That would bring the total to $1.59 billion. It's the second year in a row that Otter has proposed steep hikes for education spending.

Kyle Green / Idaho Statesman

For those seeking a catchy slogan for Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's 2015 budget, they could do worse than "wolves, water and Wi-Fi."

The Republican governor Monday told legislators that those three things will be among his priorities for the coming fiscal year, starting in July.

Otter called for $2 million for a new Wolf Control Fund, something he sees necessary to keep the number of predators in check.

Idaho now has 680 wolves.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter kicks off the 2014 legislative session with his annual State of the State speech at this hour.

Otter's speech is heavy on education, and increasing education funding. He's also using the speech to coin a new idea, instead of K-12 education, Otter says the state needs to think of public education as K-Career. "It is a formula that emphasizes local autonomy and accountability as the keys to success not only for our schools but also for our communities, our economy, and most importantly for our students," Otter says.

Aaron Kunz / EarthFix

Idaho Governor Butch Otter pledged to make wildfires on public land a priority in 2013.  Now, he's asking for $400,000 for four volunteer fire groups in Idaho. They would make ranchers the first responders to fires that threaten homes and livestock.

Aaron Kunz / EarthFix/Boise State Public Radio

Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter released his budget along with his State of the State speech Monday. 

The governor’s budget would increase general fund spending by 3.1 percent in fiscal year 2014. The FY14 budget is $2.78 billion, that’s an $84 million increase over FY13.