The Idaho Spending Index serves to provide a fiscally conservative perspective on state budgeting while providing an unbiased measurement of how Idaho lawmakers apply these values to their voting behavior on appropriations bills. Each bill is analyzed within the context of the metrics below. They receive one (+1) point for each metric that is satisfied by freedom-focused policymaking and lose one (-1) point for each instance in which the inverse is true. The sum of these points composes the score for the bill.
Analyst: Niklas Kleinworth
Bill Description: Senate Bill 1117 provides a supplemental appropriation of $1,171,000 to the Department of Lands for fiscal year 2023.
Does this budget contain hidden fund transfers or supplemental expenditures that work to enact new policy or are not valid emergency expenditures? Conversely, are fund transfers only made to stabilization funds or are supplemental requests only made in the interest of resolving valid fiscal emergencies?
Senate Bill 1117 provides for two supplementals that were requested by the Department of Lands. The first provides $340,400 to the Cottonwood District to cover the cost of refounding their offset exchange agreement with the United States Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. The second supplemental provides $831,000 in one time funds for new fire detection cameras, command vehicles, radio repeaters, and a palette wrapper.
The refounding of the Cottonwood District was dependent upon negotiations with federal agencies for the size of the jurisdiction. At the conclusion of this negotiation, the district now includes large portions of eastern Idaho. This required the department to acquire new equipment to cover these areas during the impending fire season. This could be considered a justifiable use of a supplemental though the fiscal year should have been incorporated into the transition plan.
The second portion of this bill does not constitute a valid use of a supplemental. There were no extenuating circumstances that required an expedited process for acquiring this equipment. There is also no reason much of this equipment couldn’t be foreseen as a needed expense when the agency was crafting their original appropriation request for the 2023 fiscal year. This is far from an appropriate use of a supplemental request.