HB 200 — Public health districts

Fred Birnbaum House budget bills 2019

The Idaho Budget Index examines appropriation bills on several fronts to add important context to lawmakers’ discussions as they are considered on the floor of the House and Senate. Among the issues we look at in drawing a conclusion about a budget:

Does the agency requesting these funds serve a proper role of government? Has wasteful or duplicative spending been identified within the agency, and if so, has that spending been eliminated or corrected? Does the budget examine existing spending to look for opportunities to contain spending, e.g., through a base reduction? If there is a maintenance budget, is that maintenance budget appropriate? Are the line items appropriate in type and size, and are they absolutely necessary for serving the public? Does the budget contemplate the addition of new employees or programs? Does the appropriation increase dependency on the federal government?

Our analysis is intended to provide lawmakers and their constituents with a frame of reference for conservative budgeting, by summarizing whether appropriation measures contain items that are sincerely objectionable or sincerely supportable.

Analysis:

Idaho’s seven health districts provide health services throughout the state.  Each district works under the direction of its own board of health, appointed by county commissioners within each region.  The districts are not part of any state agency, but they work in partnership with the Department of Health and Welfare and other state entities to deliver services and disburse public information to local communities. They are funded by both the state and county governments.

There are no base reductions, only inflationary adjustments in the maintenance budget. However, due to the line items, this budget represents a 4.9 percent increase over prior year appropriation.

The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee had two motions: one added a line item for “improved health transformations.” The other did not. JFAC chose the motion that had the extra line item when it could have chosen the lower cost alternative. The two line items were to fund a “Improved Health Transformations,” collaborative and “Citizen Review Panels,” the latter was not in the agency nor in the governor’s request. JFAC added “citizen review panels,” in both motions, but only kept the “Improved Health Transformation,” in the appropriation that was approved. More than $220,000 of discretionary spending was appropriated by JFAC.  Neither the agency nor governor requested both line items, only one of the two.

There are no federal funds.

Final score: (- 1)