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 808 appropriates $605,700 and 4.0 full-time positions to the Office of Administrative Hearings for fiscal year 2023.
The Office of Administrative Hearings was established for the purpose of mediating rule disputes between administrative agencies and the public, as established by the passage of House Bill 629 earlier this legislative session. Before the enactment of this law, disputes were mediated by neutral third-party contractors. Under this new provision, mediators would be selected or supplied by the state, putting complainants at a disadvantage in a dispute.
Being that this was previously not a function of the state, funding this agency would allow for the expansion of government spending and staffing. Though small, this agency would receive a $605,700 from the General Fund. This means that the agency is entirely funded by monies from property, sales, and excise taxes that could otherwise go back to constituents.