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House Bill 714 – STEM Action Center, Appropriations FY25

House Bill 714 – STEM Action Center, Appropriations FY25

Niklas Kleinworth
March 15, 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: 0

Bill Description: House Bill 714 appropriates $6,184,100 and 8.00 full-time positions to the STEM Action Center for fiscal year 2025.

Does this budget enact powers and activities that extend beyond the proper role of government? Conversely, does this budget fulfill the proper role of government?

The STEM action center was created through the passage of House Bill 302 in 2015. The program is designed to “produce a competitive STEM-ready workforce” through various educational, marketing, and policy initiatives.

This agency operates outside the proper role of government. It is a bureaucracy dedicated to centrally planning the workforce and augmenting promotion and development of a private industry. It is the role of the free market to develop its own workforce to accommodate its needs. 


Does this budget incur any wasteful spending among discretionary funds, including new line items? Conversely, does this budget contain any provisions that serve to reduce spending where possible (i.e. base reductions, debt reconciliation, etc.)? 

House Bill 714 includes a $40,000 line item reduction that relocates STEM programs for libraries to the budget for the Commission for Libraries. The STEM Action Center planned to discontinue the program in the 2025 fiscal year but the cost was added to the legislation supporting the Library Commission’s budget. This is a reduction in spending in the STEM Action Center but is really a fund shift between agencies that doesn’t save costs to the taxpayers.


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 STEM Action Center of $6,234,100, growing from the base by 1.4% over the last three years. This rate is much slower than the rate of inflation over the same period, demonstrating modest growth in the cost to maintain the agency.


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