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 352 appropriates $5,642,200 and 18.75 full-time positions to the Soil and Water Conservation Commission for fiscal year 2024.
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 Soil and Water Conservation Commission at $5,611,600, growing from the base by 82.3% in the last three years. This rate is substantially more than what would be prescribed by inflationary pressures and growth. This increase is mostly due to the injection of just under $1.7 million in federal grants into the agency’s budget that was not present three years ago.
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 352 appropriates $1,696,900 in federal funding to the Commission — supporting 30% of the agency’s total budget. This is due to the addition of a federal grant related to the Farm Bill from the National Resource Conservation Service. These federal funds constitute a large portion of this agency’s budget.
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