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 333 appropriates $79,797,900 and 346.50 full-time positions to the DHW Other Community Programs for fiscal year 2024.
The other community programs at the Department of Health and Welfare include the Divisions of Indirect Support Services, Licensing and certification, the Domestic Violence Council, and the Developmental Disabilities Council.
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 333 appropriates $2.5 million to the Domestic Violence Council to backfill declines in federal funding from the Victims of Crimes Act — also known as VOCA. The Council noted in their presentation before the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee that they must sustain a critical funding level of $12 million in VOCA funds. However, they are only receiving about half of that amount.
The issue with the request to backfill their funding is that the $2.5 million will come from the American Rescue Plan Act. Since these are temporary funds that are set to expire in 2026, this is not a sustainable solution for the Council. Additionally, ARPA funding is designed to cover the costs of one-time projects. Given the negative impact ARPA had on the national debt, spending these funds is supposed to benefit our grandchildren, as they are the ones burdened by the debt. Using funds for this purpose is an inappropriate use of this money.
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 Division of Other Community Services at $70,097,300, only growing from the base by 12.8% over the last three years. This rate is approximately equal to the rate of inflation over the same period, demonstrating acceptable growth in the cost to maintain the agency.
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?
This legislation provides $49,271,700 in federal funding — that is, 62% of the total appropriation. Each of the four agencies included in this bill relies on federal funding to support more than half of their budget. The largest contributors to this are the Domestic Violence and Developmental Disabilities Councils where nearly all of their funding (93%) comes from federal sources. In all cases, these agencies are substantially dependent on federal support to sustain their operations.