The Idaho Freedom Foundation (IFF), a government watchdog and free market think tank based in Boise, has released the final ranking of its “Big Spender” legislators from the 2012 legislative session.
The 2012 Idaho Legislature voted on 75 appropriation bills during the session, with total spending authority of nearly $6.25 billion granted to state agencies, commissions and special funds for fiscal year 2013, which begins July 1, 2012. Most of the funding—nearly $4 billion—comes from federal funds for programs like Medicaid, education and transportation that require some form of state matching funds.
The top five legislators who voted most often against individual spending bills are all members of the House of Representatives. Rep. Dick Harwood, R-St. Maries, and Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, on 26 occasions voted against spending bills, tying them for first on the anti-spending list. Two GOP representatives, Shannon McMillian of Silverton and Lenore Barrett of Challis, tied for second having each cast 23 votes against spending measures. Rep. Phil Hart, R-Hayden, rounds out the top five non-spenders with 18 votes against spending.
In the Senate, Sen. Steve Vick, R-Dalton Gardens, voted against spending measures on three occasions. Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll, R-Cottonwood, and Sen. Shirley McKague, R-Meridian, voted twice in opposition to spending measures. They are the only three who voted against more than one appropriation bill.
Another aspect of the report are the dollar amounts involved in appropriation legislation. Rep. Barbieri voted against the most dollar amount in 2013 appropriations with opposition to $3.22 billion in spending. Rep. Harwood voted against $3.15 billion and Rep. Barrett rounds out the top three with $3.08 billion. Rep. JoAn Wood, R-Rigby, and Rep. Judy Boyle, R-Midvale, neither of whom made the top five list of votes in opposition to individual bills, nonetheless voted against $2.85 billion and $2.74 billion in spending, respectively.
In the Senate, Sen. Vick received the top honor with his votes against $1.92 billion in appropriations.
“With today’s economy and out of control spending (and borrowing) at the federal level, Idahoans know and understand the need to rein in governmental spending. As a watchdog organization, we are dedicated to informing the public who is standing up for less government, free market principles and which legislators are promoting the path to reduction in governmental expenditures at the state level,” said Idaho Freedom Foundation Executive Director Wayne Hoffman.
Additional information can be found at www.accountableidaho.com or by contacting Erik Makrush at the IFF Boise office, 208-258-2280, extension 13.