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House Bill 701 — Idaho workforce housing fund

House Bill 701 — Idaho workforce housing fund

Parrish Miller
March 1, 2022

Bill Description: House Bill 701 would grow government by creating an Idaho Workforce Housing Fund.

Rating: -5

Analyst Note: House Bill 701 is a similar but shorter version of House Bill 592. 

Does it create, expand, or enlarge any agency, board, program, function, or activity of government? Conversely, does it eliminate or curtail the size or scope of government?

House Bill 701 creates Section 67-6227, Idaho Code, to establish the "workforce housing fund that will consist of such sums as may be appropriated by the legislature for the purpose of providing financial assistance in workforce housing development."


While House Bill 592 established a 10-member Idaho workforce housing advisory commission to oversee the program, House Bill 701 goes another way, tasking the Idaho housing and finance association with "creating an allocation plan" for the funds in this account. 

The government should not be funding or centrally planning housing developments, even if they are proposed in the name of creating housing for workers.


Does it increase government spending (for objectionable purposes) or debt? Conversely, does it decrease government spending or debt?

While House Bill 701 removes the intent language that was present in House Bill 592, the underlying purpose is still clear from House Bill 701's fiscal note: "The proposed funding source for FY23 is $50 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) State Fiscal Recovery Funds."

What is the proposed funding source beyond FY23? The bill doesn't sunset until the end of 2026, and history reveals that one-time expenditures often lead to ongoing expenses.


House Bill 701 calls on the state to prioritize funding for developments that "include a commitment on the part of a local government to match, in whole or in part, the funds allocated by the association." It says, "A local match may include but shall not be limited to money, fee waivers, in-kind services, donation of assets, the provision of infrastructure, or a combination thereof."

In other words, the state will seek out and incentivize increased local spending in addition to spending taxpayer money on its own.


Does it violate the principles of federalism by increasing federal authority, yielding to federal blandishments, or incorporating changeable federal laws into Idaho statutes or rules? Examples include citing federal code without noting as it is written on a certain date, using state resources to enforce federal law, and refusing to support and uphold the Tenth Amendment. Conversely, does it restore or uphold the principles of federalism?

Using APRA funds will compromise the sovereignty and independence of the state. As we know, state and local governments that use this money must comply with the terms and guidelines issued by the United States treasury.


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