FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Feb. 19, 2014 Information Contact: Wayne Hoffman, (208) 258-2280 ext. 211
Idaho unprepared for next federal funding crisis
Idaho policymakers know too little about the federal money that makes up more than a third of the state budget—leaving the state and its citizens unprepared for the next funding crisis from Washington, D.C., according to a report released Wednesday by the Idaho Freedom Foundation and Sutherland Institute’s Center for Self-Government in the West.
The report notes that Idaho’s reliance on federal money has grown 82 percent in the last 10 years, and the state now depends on more than $2.3 billion to fund hundreds of programs ranging from law enforcement to education, yet few systems are in place allowing policymakers to see the full picture of what the federal money is funding.
Furthermore, the study finds no one really knows exactly how many state employees depend on federal funding for their paychecks, complicating matters in the event the federal government cuts funding to the states. Other problems in the report include too much latitude given to agencies to accept federal money, and agencies accepting grants that fall outside the scope of state law.
Wayne Hoffman, president of IFF, authored the report and said the recent news that the federal government is withholding $14.5 million, threatening the state’s public school broadband network, is reason to worry about the next bombshell from Washington, D.C.
“We don’t know what the next federal budget crisis will be, but it’s obvious one is coming,” Hoffman said. “The least Idaho lawmakers can do right now is take steps to prepare. Lawmakers need to know the details of what’s in our state budget so they can measure the effectiveness and reliance on federal funding and act in their constituents’ best interests.”
Carl Graham, director of The Center for Self-Government in the West, believes states need to recognize the risks of taking federal funds. “We need to see where these funds are spent and assess the risks we’ve accepted by taking them.”
The Idaho Freedom Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization and government watchdog dedicated to free market solutions, private property rights, individual responsibility and transparent, limited government.
The Sutherland Institute Center for Self-Government in the West protects freedom and opportunity in Utah and the West by promoting federalism and equipping state leader—both public and private—to reclaim their powers and responsibilities un the United States Constitution.