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House Bill 748 – Department of Lands, Bonuses and Good Neighbor Trailer, Appropriations FY25

House Bill 748 – Department of Lands, Bonuses and Good Neighbor Trailer, Appropriations FY25

Niklas Kleinworth
March 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: -1

Bill Description: House Bill 748 adds language to align the budget with statutory changes in House Bill 614. It also appropriates an additional $175,000 to the Department of Lands for fiscal year 2025.

ANALYST NOTE: There are two components to this legislation. The first adds language that allows the Department of Lands to transfer funds into the Good Neighbor Authority Fund, created by the passage of House Bill 614. This fund would be continuously appropriated to support the existing Good Neighbor Authority forest management program. The second component provides for $175,000 in bonuses for wildland firefighters in the Clearwater-Potlatch Timber Protection Agency.

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 748 appropriates $175,000 from the General Fund for recruitment and retention bonuses for firefighters. This amount was inadvertently omitted from the original motion for the Department of Lands budget. 

This request is in addition to $1 million in total bonuses to be paid to firefighters in the 2025 fiscal year. These appropriations were not requested by the agency, but added by the governor’s office instead. There was no indication of how these funds would be allocated, suggesting that they are a blanket increase. This is wasteful because these funds are simply being allocated to the staff without any discretion based on merit.


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