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 335 appropriates $4,139,000 and 37.00 full-time positions to the Commission of Pardons and Parole 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.)?
This budget seeks to reclassify one research analyst position to a Senior Research Analyst. The Commission notes that this position has been chronically difficult to fill. For the 2023 fiscal year, the total salary and benefits appropriated for this position came to $65,626. This line item would be a $23,100 increase in pay — a 35% jump — for this reclassified position. Initially, this boost in pay may not seem to be a very cost-effective option for recruiting and retaining employees for this role. However, if this move is successful, there would be savings in the form of recruitment and onboarding costs that are wasted on revolving door positions like this one. At this point, the outcome of this move is too speculative to accurately assess whether this is a wasteful expenditure.
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 Commission on Pardons and Parole at $4,081,100, growing from the base by 13.4% over the last three years. This rate is approximately equal to the rate of inflation over the same period.
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