- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 20, 2016

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - The Idaho Division of Welfare is asking state budget writers for a 9.4 percent increase from the general fund to modernize the technology used in the distribution of child support payments.

The $3.7 million increase is part of the division’s total request of about $43 million from the state’s general fund. It’s seeking another $18.6 million from cigarette and tobacco taxes to fund a health care initiative introduced by Gov. C. L. “Butch” Otter earlier this month. The Primary Care Access Program is designed to provide preventative care to about 75,000 Idahoans, but does not pay for expensive prescriptions or hospitalization.

Division administrator Lori Wolff told the Joint Finance and Appropriation Committee on Wednesday that food stamps, child support and Medicaid eligibility are its three largest programs, serving over 638,000 people. She reported that 15 percent of Idahoans live below the poverty line.

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