The Idaho Budget 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.
Bill description: House Bill 687 provides $19.7 million to the Commission on Aging for fiscal year 2023 and provides a supplemental appropriation of $5 million for the 2022 fiscal year.
The Idaho Commission on Aging provides services for older adults and people with disabilities, with the goal of helping them remain independent, avoid institutionalization and age in place in their own homes and communities of choice. Services include assistance with meals, transportation, and other activities of daily living.
HB 687 provides for a $5 million supplemental appropriation for fiscal year 2022 to support renovations and upgrades to senior centers throughout the state. These dollars come from surplus dollars in the General Fund, and constitute more than 22% of the original budget appropriated for this agency. This constitutes a disproportionate increase from the original appropriation for the agency, substantially exceeding budgeted expenditures.
To fund the Aging Commission for fiscal year 2023, HB 687 appropriates a total of $19.7 million. This is a 12.7% increase from last year’s budget.
Historically, this agency has relied on federal funds to support about 70% of its total budget. In the current fiscal year, 9% of its budget comes from federal COVID-19 relief funding alone. The FY23 budget proposal would continue this trend by appropriating $43,800 in federal funding for a new training specialist position and more than $5 million from the American Rescue Plan Act and Federal COVID-19 Relief Fund, constituting more than one-quarter of the budget. The total amount of federal support for the Aging Commission totals $14,417,000 and 73% of the budget.
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