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House Bill 227 — Public TV supplemental appropriation

House Bill 227 — Public TV supplemental appropriation

Fred Birnbaum
February 25, 2021

The Idaho Spending Index examines appropriation bills on several fronts to add some important context to lawmakers’ discussions as the spending bills are considered on the House and Senate floors. As we look at the budget, we consider the following issues:

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? Have budget-writers reviewed existing outlays 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 adding 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 truly  objectionable or legitimate and worthy of support.

Bill Description: A $450,000 FY21 supplemental for Idaho Public Television

Rating: -1

Idaho Public Television provides real-time coverage of the Idaho Legislature and the state’s Supreme Court hearings. If that were its only function, there would be an argument that it deserves public support, and that portion of the budget could be separated from the balance of Idaho Public Television’s work. 

This supplemental adds a full-time position and additional programming to create educational resources and conduct outreach, and “develop literacy training modules, coordinate with a strategic relations firm, etc.” 

There is no reason that this should be publicly funded.

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