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 826 appropriates $7,766,700 and 37.50 full-time positions to the Commission for Libraries for fiscal year 2023.
House Bill 826 is the fourth iteration of the 2023 appropriation for the Commission for Libraries. Compared to the originally proposed budget in House Bill 784, this bill would omit provisions that would give $307,000 to the Idaho Digital Ebook Alliance and $3.5 million in telehealth grant funding. This bill also adds intent language addressing the procurement of obscene materials in Idaho’s libraries. For a more in-depth analysis and legislative history of this budget, please see our analyses for House Bills 784, 808, and 824.
Although this budget is an improvement from earlier versions, it doesn’t address concerns that have been raised about the use of funds by the Commission for Libraries. This agency continues to promote social justice materials directed towards children.