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 304 appropriates $149,932,500 and 547.00 full-time positions to the Department of Fish and Game 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 304 provides $1,738,400 in funding for targeted salary increases for temporary employees. These employees are generally not included in the statewide change in employee compensation but demand higher pay for the department to be competitive during the busy season. Thus, the increased pay for these positions does not circumvent the uniformity of the statewide CEC.
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 Department of Fish and Game at $136,417,800, growing from the base by 20.4% in the last three years. This rate is higher than what would be prescribed by inflationary pressures and growth.
Does this budget perpetuate or expand state dependence on federal dollars, thereby violating principles of federalism? Conversely, does this budget actively reduce the amount of federal dollars used to balance this budget?
The Idaho Department of Fish and Game accepts $64.2 million in funding from the federal government to support its operations. This represents a substantial proportion of its total agency budget at 43%. Seasonal worker pay increases would grow federal influence on the agency budget with more than $1.3 million in ongoing funding. Other large projects like one line item for Salmon and Steelhead habitat restoration would also increase ongoing federal spending by another $2.5 million. This budget expands the state’s dependence on federal dollars for the upcoming fiscal year and beyond.
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