Bill description: Department of Administration, Permanent Building Fund, Fiscal Year 2021
This budget contains one line that caused consternation for three members of the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee for understandable reasons. There is a specific line item for $2.5 million in additional funding for a Lewis-Clark State College building that was supposed to be a 50%-50% shared cost between the state of Idaho and the college. The cost of the building exceeded the $20 million projection and this line item is for the state to pick up the entirety of the overage and not adhere to the 50/50 split as agreed upon.
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The Idaho Spending Index examines appropriation bills on several fronts to add important context to lawmakers’ discussions as the spending bills are considered on the House and Senate floors. Among the issues we look at in drawing a conclusion about a budget:
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? Does the budget examine existing spending 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 the addition of 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 sincerely objectionable or sincerely supportable.