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
Bill Description: House Bill 260 appropriates $20,788,800 and 130.25 full-time positions to the Industrial Commission for fiscal year 2024.
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 260 provides for the appropriation of three line items related to the implementation of the agency’s new IRIS software program. This program is supposed to consolidate records and make it easier for users to access services. The project has been very expensive, costing $8.6 million over the last three years. The 2024 fiscal year would serve as the fourth and final year of the implementation of this project. The agency is asking for funding for the final phase of implementation of the IRIS program at $230,000, a dedicated Microsoft Engineer to transition the agency to the new program at $150,000, and an IT contract to cover Idaho IT Services while it trains the personnel to provide tech support.
The high costs to implement the new system are very objectionable. However, being that this is the last year of implementation, it would be wasteful to withhold funding for the program.
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 sets the maintenance budget for the Industrial Commission at $20,255,600, growing from the base by 14.6% over the last three years. This rate is approximately equal to the rate of inflation over the same period.