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Maxine Bell is not a fiscal conservative

Maxine Bell is not a fiscal conservative

Fred Birnbaum
May 16, 2016
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May 16, 2016

Can the Idaho Freedom Foundation support our contention that Rep. Maxine Bell, long-time co-chairman of the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee is not a fiscal conservative?

Yes, I believe we can.

The National Association of State Budget Officers provides a fiscal summary of all of the states. This gives us a basis for a comparison.

When we compare Idaho’s general fund spending increases since the recession ended we see that Idaho has grown spending at a faster rate than the 50 states overall. That’s right; Idaho with its supposedly conservative legislature and conservative budget panel has come out of the recession with bigger spending increases than the 50-state average.

From 2011 to 2016, Idaho general fund appropriations increased at a compound annual growth rate of 5.20 percent vs. 4.14 percent average for the 50 states.

If you don’t think that matters, consider the impact that holding to a 4.14 percent increase would have on general fund spending. There would have been $152 million dollar in 2016 that could have been appropriated to roads – eliminating the need for the 2015 tax increase on motor fuels and registrations.

Holding our spending increases here in Idaho at or below the levels of most states is simply prudent and Bell would have done so if she really were a conservative.

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