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 1124 provides a supplemental appropriation of $7,000 to the Office of the Lieutenant Governor 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 1124 provides a one-time supplemental of $5,000 for travel expenses and $2,000 for back pay to the prior Lieutenant Governor, for a total cost of $7,000. Beginning with the back pay provision of this supplemental, this action does fall under the proper use of a supplemental due to an unexpected budget shortfall in the 2023 fiscal year. This shortfall was due in part to damages that had to be paid in the case of Idaho Press Club v McGeachin (2021). These funds were not appropriated by the Legislature, requiring cuts to the original appropriation to pay the fine.
The remaining $5,000 for travel expenses restores the travel budget for the office. This is an ongoing portion of this supplemental. Lt. Gov. Scott Bedke speculated in his presentation before JFAC that the previous Lt. Governor either covered travel expenses from her own pocket or through campaign funds. However, the Lt. Governor did not note a valid fiscal emergency that would justify the need for more funding for travel expenses, including any budget shortfall that would prevent him from performing his duties for the remaining three months of the fiscal year. This item should not be a supplemental appropriation. If it were included, it would be better suited as a line item.
STAY CONNECTED with the latest news, research and opinions from the Gem State.