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House Bill 649 - Office of Species Conservation, Appropriations FY25

House Bill 649 - Office of Species Conservation, Appropriations FY25

Niklas Kleinworth
February 26, 2024

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

Rating: -3

Bill Description: House Bill 649 appropriates $19,891,000 and 16.00 full-time positions to the Office of Species Conservation for fiscal year 2025.

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 confirms the maintenance budget for the Office of Species Conservation at $19,747,600, growing from the base by 34.9% in the last three years. This rate is nearly double what would be prescribed by inflationary pressures and growth.


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 budget also includes $18,104,500 in federal grants. These funds constitute 91% of the agency’s total budget with 45% of staff supported by these funds. The mission for the Office of Species Conservation is to manage wildlife, subject to the Federal Endangered Species Act. This agency depends heavily on federal control and regulation through funding and its primary operations.


Does the budget grow government through the addition of new permanent FTPs or through funding unlegislated efforts to create new or expanded entitlement programs? Conversely, does this budget reduce the size of government staff and programs except where compelled by new legislation?

This budget expands the agency with the addition of one new financial assistant position. This person is intended to expand the capacity of the agency to manage grants, audits, and LUMA, the state’s new financial management software that launched in July, 2023. 

This new position at the Office of Species conservation is especially concerning because the LUMA system was sold as a way to save costs and consolidate state financial management systems. It is possible this additional position will not be needed once LUMA is no longer novel.


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