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 319 appropriates $68,901,100 and 183.80 full-time positions to the Department of Parks and Recreation 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 319 provides for $1.28 million in new construction, renovation, and maintenance projects within the Department of Parks and Recreation. In addition to these appropriations, other legislation approved by JFAC for consideration on the floor would provide a supplemental transfer of $85 million from the General Fund for this purpose. This other legislation would leave approximately $15 million available for miscellaneous improvement projects, with these funds carrying over into the 2024 fiscal year. Should this other legislation pass, it would be wasteful to provide an additional $1.28 million that could easily be absorbed by this expense.
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 Parks and Recreation at $57,438,800, growing from the base by 52.2% in the last three years. This rate is substantially more 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?
House Bill 319 provides $21,3663,800 in federal funding for the Department of Parks and Recreation. This constitutes just over 31% of the agency’s budget for the 2024 fiscal year. This funding includes $10 million in funds from the American Rescue Plan Act that are built into the base budget with an additional $5 million requested in line item 51 for State Fiscal Recovery Fund projects. This was funding that neither the agency nor the governor had a defined use for at the time it was submitted to the legislature in the Legislative Budget Book. It was not until the agency’s presentation before the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee that it was announced that these funds will be used for deferred maintenance projects, like those that would be covered in the $85 million supplemental request noted earlier.
This legislation demonstrates growing dependence on federal funding, including in the form of ARPA funds.
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?
This legislation seeks to add 12.83 full-time positions to the agency’s budget for the 2024 fiscal year. Ten of these positions are for additional park personnel, two are for a new maintenance crew in the east region, and the 0.83 FTPs will be used to convert three part-time employees to full-time. These new positions would cost a total of $1,893,600 with $952,800 estimated as ongoing funding for personnel. This legislation grows the size of government and ongoing spending within the Department.
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