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 793 appropriates $1,202,312,100 for the Public School Program’s Teachers Division.
There are a number of problems with this budget. First, it contains a line item eliminating the leadership premium and saving ($20.5 million). The leadership premiums were eliminated with the promise of additional health insurance funding support. There is another line item in a separate bill, H797, that provides $105.4 million for health insurance. The problem is that there is not a direct connection between those that will be losing their leadership premiums and those gaining better health care coverage.
Additionally, this bill provides $36.5 million in one-time additional compensation. This was in lieu of the Governor’s Career Ladder acceleration. Perhaps this is a fair offset because the leadership premiums were removed, but there is no guarantee that the $36.5 million of ARPA funded additional compensation will go to those who didn’t get leadership premiums. This is distributed at the discretion of the district.
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