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.
OITS is the state’s IT data and networking hub. It was created less than a year ago with the view to consolidate information technology in the governor’s office, with House Bill 607.
There are some risks with the consolidation of IT services if not properly executed and this adds another division to the Office of the Governor.
However, we believe it is a policy option that merits support. Among the benefits:
49 positions are being eliminated at various agencies with only 36 being added at OITS. Note that the SOP shows 35 positions but one was added earlier with an FY19 supplemental. So that is a net reduction of 13 FTP’s and approximately $900k saved annually.
Consolidation, should make the IT modernization go more smoothly and reduce the risk of cybersecurity data breaches. The IT modernization project is a five-year project.
Utah is saving over $1 million annually according to a National Association of State Chief Information Officer’s survey.
It is imperative that lawmakers have this agency document the savings and review them in upcoming sessions.