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Eye on Boise: Capitol remodeling costs draw drama from Idaho legislators

BOISE – GOP state Treasurer Julie Ellsworth says House leaders want to spend “over $10 million on private offices for legislators to use three months out of the year.”

GOP House Speaker Scott Bedke calls that “ridiculous,” a “false claim,” and a “gross misstatement of fact.”

Ellsworth points to HB 289, an appropriation bill that passed the House handily in 2019 but died on a 17-18 vote in the Senate, that had a price tag of $10.6 million. Bedke says that had other things rolled into it, including the now-abandoned plan to buy back a bank building across from the Capitol, though that’s not specifically mentioned in the bill.

So who’s right? It’s complicated, but it appears that it’s Bedke.

HB 289 outlined “three projects” that would be paid for by its $10,595,800 appropriation: $3.53 million “to acquire, remodel or renovate reasonable office space for the state treasurer’s office and

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