The Idaho Spending Index examines appropriation bills on several fronts to add important context to lawmakers’ discussions as they are considered on the floor of the House and Senate. 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 758 appropriates $512,000 and 3.00 full-time positions for fiscal year 2023 and provides a $75,000 supplemental for fiscal year 2022.
The Commission on Hispanic Affairs is designed to manage how government interacts with the Hispanic community in the areas of education, health care, commerce, management, and political participation. House Bill 758 intends to raise the commission’s budget by more than 22% ($93,000) and continue spending money from federal grants for a smoking study ($20,000). This proposal also adds $75,000 as a supplemental for fiscal year 2022 for hosting events.
The commission exists to integrate diversity, equity, and inclusion policies within state agencies. As its programs work to promote “economic, educational, and social equity” for Hispanic residents throughout the state, this agency resembles a government-funded lobbying firm. The agency subjects Hispanic Idahoans to special study and works to further policy initiatives that exclusively benefit them.
Notably, the issues that the Hispanic Commission works to address are not exclusive to this group of Idahoans. For example, the commission focuses on reducing the Hispanic unemployment rate, which contributes to 12% of Idaho's unemployed population, per its report to the Legislature this year. Focusing on this group would alienate the remaining 88% of the unemployed population and ignores real solutions that would eliminate the problem.
Funding agencies like the Hispanic Commission is outside the proper role of government and an inappropriate use of taxpayer dollars. The government should not discriminate against or favor one group of residents over another simply by virtue of an immutable characteristic, like skin color or ethnicity.
This post was updated: March 11, 2022 at 1:35 pm.
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