FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 13, 2014
Information Contact: Wayne Hoffman (208) 258-2280 ext. 211
Poll: Idahoans underestimate dependence on federal dollars, wary of potential D.C. spending crisis
A survey of Idahoans finds most believe the state’s reliance on federal funding is a big problem, and that the governor and Legislature should do more to track the federal money the state receives.
In addition, 67 percent say it is “very important” that the state make preparations in case federal funding for the state is reduced due to budgetary changes in Washington, D.C., while another 23 percent agrees that it is “somewhat important.”
The statewide public opinion survey was released today by the Idaho Freedom Foundation (IFF) and the Center for Self-Government in the West as part of their Financial Ready Idaho project.
According to the poll results, more than two-thirds want to see the state’s dependence on Washington, D.C., reduced and more than 80 percent believe the state should have a contingency plan for financial readiness in case federal funding is reduced.
“Idahoans are being misled by lawmakers,” said Wayne Hoffman, IFF’s president. “They love to talk about pushing back against the feds, but it seems Idaho’s politicians can’t find enough opportunities to accept their money as our reliance on federal dollars increases year after year.”
The survey of 500 Idahoans was conducted Jan. 20-22 by a national polling company. Among its clients are former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson and the National Republican Congressional Committee.
“Idahoans have obviously made the connection between being dependent on D.C. dollars and the risk of those dollars being cut. They want a plan to make sure the state’s basic needs will be met, and there will be a lot of explaining to do if they don’t get one,” said Carl Graham, director of The Center for Self-Government in the West.
Idahoans broadly agree that the acceptance of federal money by the state is problematic:
More than half of Idaho’s registered voters incorrectly believe that less than 30 percent of the state’s budget is federal dollars, according to a statewide public opinion survey. The actual figure of federal dollars used in the state budget is 36 percent.
90 percent say that Idaho state government should conduct an annual inventory and record keeping of federal funds coming into the state. 59 percent are more likely to support a candidate who campaigns on reducing or rejecting some federal monies to limit the federal government influence in Idaho.
“This poll clearly shows that Idahoans understand that as our dependence increases, so does our vulnerability to the chaotic forces of Washington, D.C. And they understand that none of those dollars come without some strings attached," said Hoffman. "Politicians should take note.”
The Idaho Freedom Foundation (IFF) is a nonpartisan educational research institute and government watchdog dedicated to improving the lives of Idahoans.
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 leaders—both public and private—to reclaim their powers and responsibilities in the United States Constitution.
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 separate report released 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.