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: FY22 Appropriation for the Department of Corrections
This appropriation contains a large line item that the governor did not request. It is a $1.8 million request for three community intervention centers in the community corrections department.
Corrections is one of those budgets that has grown rapidly in recent years. It had a budget of $296 million in FY20, as compared to a FY22 request of $310 million. The $310 million figure is lower than projected due to lower than expected county and out of state placement of prisoner costs. This appropriation includes funds to expand the St. Anthony Work Camp and phase 4 of the Offender Management (software) System. But rather than return some of the savings to the General Fund, JFAC added a $1.8 million line item for the intervention centers, which was not requested by the governor.