Bringing holiday cheer to the Capitol isn’t exactly cheap.

On the 16-foot tall conical tower of 126 poinsettias standing beneath the rotunda, along with 50 other plants set up around the building, the state spent about $2,500, according to Capitol groundskeeper Mike Garcia.

At least one taxpayer thinks it’s a little much. Tony Pulley, a Boise resident who works for a landscape company, said until recently he probably would not have cared.

“But all you hear about is cuts so anything that’s not really needed kinda gets me going anymore,” he said while taking a break from playing with his kids in the snow at his home Wednesday to look at a picture of the tower. “I guess it’s not a lot (of money), but it sounds like a lot to me.”

Pulley said with a smirk that the 6-foot-tall artificial tree he got at Wal-Mart for $40 could have done the job.

On the other side is Jennifer Collins, a photographer from Nampa who was at the Capitol Tuesday taking a family’s Christmas portrait using the poinsettia tower as background.

“It’s cheerful for a public place,” she said, calling the cost “a drop in the bucket” and noting that many private companies might go bigger. “I think it’s worth it.”

Instead of the tower, the state used to put up a tree inside every holiday season but stopped in the early 1990s when one got stuck in a entryway and had to be winched out, resulting in some damage. The fire marshall also frowned on the potential tinder being indoors, Garcia said.

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