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 303 appropriates $34,363,600 and 231.00 full-time positions to the Office of the Attorney General 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 303 provides $1,932,500 to support a pay increase for Deputy Attorneys General and investigators. These funds would provide an 11% pay increase for Deputy AG’s when combined with the CEC. Attorney General Raúl Labrador noted that these positions generally lag behind other public sector positions by 11%, making it difficult to hire and retain employees.
The Office of the Attorney General was appropriated a similar pay increase for these employees in the 2023 fiscal year. At the time, this request was not recommended by the governor being that the agency was slated to receive a 5% statewide CEC. Despite this, the increase still received legislative support.
The $1.20 statewide CEC would provide a roughly 2.9% average agency-wide increase in employee compensation. Providing an additional 8.1% increase in pay would be a significant jump compared to what is being appropriated to other state agencies.
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 Office of the Attorney General at $31,566,800, growing from the base by 19.5% in the last three years. This rate is higher than what would be prescribed by inflationary pressures and growth.
Does the budget grow government through the addition of new permanent FTPs or through funding unlegislated efforts to create new or expanded entitlement programs? Conversely, does this budget reduce the size of government staff and programs except where compelled by new legislation?
House Bill 303 would add a total of five full-time positions to the Office of the Attorney General. One position is for a Victim Witness Coordinator, costing $98,700. The remaining four positions will be for more investigators and analysts for the Internet Crimes Against Children Division. When accounting for new staff and vehicles, the total cost to add these positions is $642,600. The addition of these positions increase in the size of the agency, ongoing spending, and the overall size of government.