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House panel, too, demands more oversight for federal cash

House panel, too, demands more oversight for federal cash

Dustin Hurst
March 25, 2015
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March 25, 2015

A bill to require state agencies to provide greater transparency of federal dollars in their budgets is two steps from Gov. Butch Otter’s desk.

On a unanimous vote, the House Appropriations Committee, in a rare hearing without its Senate counterpart, approved the measure Wednesday. It now heads to the House floor.

The bill will require state agencies to detail all federal dollars in their spending plans in an annual report to budget-writers. The measure also requires that agency leaders disclose potential expiration or reduction of federal funding streams during yearly budget request meetings.

The plan follows less than a year after Otter wrote an executive order with many of the same requirements.

Panel chair Maxine Bell, R-Jerome, praised the plan as a necessary tool for her powerful committee.

“So we know what could happen,” Bell said.

This is the second iteration of the measure; the new version has an exemption for Idaho’s colleges and universities, which already report federal dollars, though on a different time frame.

Kent Kunz, lobbyist for Idaho State University, endorsed the plan with the exemption included.

“There are already people doing at the university doing this,” Kunz said. “This is a good bill.”

Wayne Hoffman, president of the Idaho Freedom Foundation, also approved the legislation.

“It’s a step forward for providing more transparency for federal funds,” Hoffman told Bell and committee members.

Hoffman worked with Bell and Senate Finance Committee Chair Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, to craft the language.

Note: The Idaho Freedom Foundation publishes IdahoReporter.com.

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