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House Bill 680 – Commission on Aging, Appropriations FY25

House Bill 680 – Commission on Aging, Appropriations FY25

Niklas Kleinworth
March 1, 2024

The Idaho Spending Index serves to provide a fiscally conservative perspective on state budgeting while providing an unbiased measurement of how Idaho lawmakers apply these values to their voting behavior on appropriations bills. Each bill is analyzed within the context of the metrics below. They receive one (+1) point for each metric that is satisfied by freedom-focused policymaking and lose one (-1) point for each instance in which the inverse is true. The sum of these points composes the score for the bill.

Analyst: Niklas Kleinworth

Rating: -2

Bill Description: House Bill 680 appropriates $18,519,700 and 15.00 full-time positions to the Commission on Aging for fiscal year 2025.

Does this budget incur any wasteful spending among discretionary funds, including new line items? Conversely, does this budget contain any provisions that serve to reduce spending where possible (i.e. base reductions, debt reconciliation, etc.)? 

House Bill 680 draws down the remaining $1.8 million in funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to support a variety of programs administered through local Area Agencies on Aging.

Among the uses to which APRA money has already been spent is a pilot program to support unpaid caregivers of those suffering from dementia. Though this may seem like a noble use of these funds, there are two concerns. First, ARPA funding is temporary, as it is scheduled to expire in 2026. The problem with starting new government benefits with these funds is that they will lose financial support after the temporary funding expires. This is an irresponsible budget practice that will oblige the state to either support the program with new spending from the general fund or cut the program from people who have become dependent on it.

The second issue is one that concerns the role of the governor in creating new programs. This program is an unlegislated entitlement program with the potential to create ongoing expenses for the state. This circumvents the authority of the legislature to dictate the creation or continuation of government programs.


Is the maintenance budget inappropriate for the needs of the state, the size of the agency, or the inflationary environment of the economy? Conversely, is the maintenance budget appropriate given the needs of the state and economic pressures?

This legislation confirms the maintenance budget for the Commission on Aging of $15,806,900, growing from the base by 0.3% over the last three years. This rate demonstrates virtually zero growth in the cost to maintain the agency.


Does this budget perpetuate or expand state dependence on federal dollars, thereby violating principles of federalism? Conversely, does this budget actively reduce the amount of federal dollars used to balance this budget?

The commission relies on more than $12.2 million in federal funding to support its programs and operations. This constitutes two-thirds of its total budget. These funds also support nearly 55% of all the staff working at the agency. This demonstrates that the Aging Commission depends heavily t on federal funding.


Does the budget grow government through the addition of new permanent FTPs or through funding unlegislated efforts to create new or expanded entitlement programs? Conversely, does this budget reduce the size of government staff and programs except where compelled by new legislation?

House Bill 680 requests the addition of one new full-time financial specialist position. This position is intended to support the transition to LUMA, the state’s new financial management system. This new system was supposed to consolidate state operations and make them more efficient. It is inappropriate to permanently add this new position as the LUMA workload may decrease once the program is not so novel anymore.


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