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.
Bill description: HR009 makes a transfer of $50 million from the State Fiscal Recovery Fund, as supported by funds from the American Rescue Plan Act, to provide new workforce training programs for in-demand professions.
Idaho, like many states, is having difficulty filling all sorts of jobs, according to a constant refrain. Rather than spending more money for another training program, perhaps it would be better to stop discouraging people from working.
According to a fact sheet provided by the Foundation for Government Accountability, using publicly available data, Idaho’s labor force participation rate has fallen from 69.6% in 2000 to 63.2% in 2020. The incentive for people who have stopped working to once again enter the workforce is diminished by a number of programs that don’t require work: expanding Medicaid to able-bodied people, food stamps, unemployment insurance (especially as enhanced during the pandemic), etc.
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