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 797 appropriates $906,575,900 for the Public School Program’s Operations Division for FY 23, and $19.6 million for a FY22 supplemental to move from average daily attendance to enrollment for funding purposes.
H443 was an earlier bill to allow school districts to move teachers and other staff to the state health insurance plan. However, since moving to the state insurance plan is likely not possible this year, the $105.4 additional health insurance line item can be used for any health insurance product. And any funds provided by this line that are in excess of actual health insurance costs are fully discretionary and can be used by the districts for other purposes.
So, the general fund spending was increased by 19.3% with no offsets in this bill. The leadership premium offset in H793 of ($20.5 million) was also more than replaced by $36.5 million of additional compensation in H793. Teachers are getting a huge windfall.
Finally, there is a $19.6 million line item for the enrollment rule change. Again with no offsets.
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