The Idaho Spending Index examines appropriation bills on several fronts to add some important context to lawmakers’ discussions as the spending bills are considered on the House and Senate floors. As we look at the budget, we consider the following issues:
Does the agency requesting these funds serve a proper role of government? Has wasteful or duplicative spending been identified within the agency, and if so, has that spending been eliminated or corrected? Have budget-writers reviewed existing outlays to look for opportunities to contain spending, e.g., through a base reduction? If there is a maintenance budget, is that maintenance budget appropriate? Are the line items appropriate in type and size, and are they absolutely necessary for serving the public? Does the budget contemplate adding new employees or programs? Does the appropriation increase dependency on the federal government?
Our analysis is intended to provide lawmakers and their constituents with a frame of reference for conservative budgeting, by summarizing whether appropriation measures contain items that are truly objectionable or legitimate and worthy of support.
Bill Description: State Controller’s Office, FY22 Appropriation
Analysis: The SCO has provided a lot of value with their Transparent Idaho website in that it details agency expenditures and makes them readily available. The issue with this budget is that it adds 4 full-time-positions to manage the implementation of the budget and procurement modules of the “Luma” enterprise resource planning system. This is part of a concerning trend in state government agencies including corrections and H&W, where the implementation of new software does not generate visible productivity gains - or FTP reductions. New systems plus new people are a very expensive combination. It should also be noted that this office is getting 3 new FTPs (in a separate trailer bill) as part of a local government accounting and uniformity initiative (House Bill 73, transmitted to the Governor on 3/16) to place this data on the Transparent Idaho website. Better data and systems are only valuable if the political will exists to use them to implement the change management necessary to get better results - cost savings.