FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 24, 2014 Information Contact: Wayne Hoffman (208) 258-2280 ext. 211
Freedom Foundation praises Otter order to understand federal funds impact
Idaho Freedom Foundation President Wayne Hoffman Monday applauded Gov. Butch Otter's executive order requiring state agencies to annually delineate the federal funds they receive and make plans for a cut of 10 percent or more.
Otter's executive order also requires the agencies to identify state programs, agreements or obligations that might be impacted by the loss of federal funds.
"The governor's executive order can be a valuable tool in preparing the state for the federal government's next fiscal crisis. We all know it's coming. It's just a question of when. Idaho policymakers need to effectively see what's in our state budget so that they can measure the impacts of the federal funds. Only then will they be able to make decisions in the best interests of their constituents," Hoffman said.
Idaho's reliance on federal funding has grown 82 percent in the last 10 years. A report released in January by the Idaho Freedom Foundation noted that the state administers more than 440 different federal grants. The report also found that no one really knows the full extent of federal funding in the state including which programs and which employees depend on financing from Washington, D.C. The report also found that the state continues to give wide discretion to agency officials to accept federal grants, resulting in the acceptance of grants that do not match the policy objectives or priorities outlined by lawmakers.
"Idahoans have come to depend on an array of state programs that use federal dollars. Those programs are at risk to a sudden decrease in federal money," Hoffman said. "Understanding the scope of the problem is the first step toward making smart choices for Idaho residents."
Hoffman said the federal deficit problem is going to have a day of reckoning, so the state needs to be prepared. The federal debt as of March 24 stood at $17.6 trillion. With an estimated population of nearly 318 million, the average debt per person is slightly more than $55,000. The national debt since September 2012 has climbed an average of $2.8 billion per day.
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