The Idaho Spending Index examines appropriation bills on several fronts to add some important context to lawmakers’ discussions as the spending bills are considered on the House and Senate floors. As we look at the budget, we consider the following issues:
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? Have budget-writers reviewed existing outlays 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 adding 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 truly objectionable or legitimate and worthy of support.
In its presentation to the Change in Compensation Committee (page 12), the Office of Group Insurance says the $25 million is an unnecessarily large allocation to the State Employee Health Insurance Fund.
A $15 million allocation would increase the medical and dental reserve balance to $55.5 million. The federally allowed reserve maximum is $58.7 million. Even if APRA funds are not counted against this maximum, legislators should consider other ways to spend the amount that exceeds $15 million.
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