There’s good news regarding the state economy.  Final figures for fiscal year 2011 show Idaho came in with $85 million more in tax revenue than projected.  Much of the extra cash will be diverted to public schools and community colleges because of agreements made with the federal government to maintain school funding levels.  Idaho Governor Butch Otter says public schools will receive nearly $60 million of the surplus revenue, while community colleges will get $7.5 million.  Schools in the Magic Valley will see about twelve million dollars of that money. Despite the positive news, Otter says it's critical to maintain a cautious approach to revenue as Idaho tries to emerge from the recession. Senator Dean Cameron of Rupert and Representative Maxine Bell of Jerome – co-chairs of the Legislature’s budget-writing Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee  are echoing the call for continued caution. As part of the release of the figures yesterday, Governor Otter admitted that he lost a wager over the expectations to Democrat Former Governor Cecile Andrus.  The two made the bet in the midst of the 2010 fiscal year.  Governor Andrus bet that state revenue would exceed the official projection from Governor Otter’s budget office. Otter says it’s a bet he’s happy to have lost.

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