The Idaho Budget Index examines appropriation bills on several fronts to add important context to lawmakers’ discussions as the spending bills are considered on the House and Senate floors. Among the issues we look at in drawing a conclusion about a budget:

Does the agency requesting these funds serve a proper role of government? Has wasteful or duplicative spending been identified within the agency, and if so, has that spending been eliminated or corrected? Does the budget examine existing spending to look for opportunities to contain spending, e.g., through a base reduction? If there is a maintenance budget, is that maintenance budget appropriate? Are the line items appropriate in type and size, and are they absolutely necessary for serving the public? Does the budget contemplate the addition of new employees or programs? Does the appropriation increase dependency on the federal government?

Our analysis is intended to provide lawmakers and their constituents with a frame of reference for conservative budgeting, by summarizing whether appropriation measures contain items that are sincerely objectionable or sincerely supportable.

Analysis:

The Idaho Office of Drug Policy was created in 2007 in an effort to create “a single point of budget coordination and program direction for substance abuse programs that utilize state funds,” according to the originating bill’s Statement of Purpose. Since that time, the office has morphed into an advocate for the development of policies aimed at derailing decriminalization or legalization of items that have no psychoactive properties, such as CBD oil, a deviation from the agency’s original mission.

As to the budget for FY 2020, there is small base reduction for the removal of one time items and the maintenance increase is small. The line items include a partnership for success federal grant. This grant is discretionary with the stated aim of reducing substance abuse. The Office of Drug Policy requests $97,800 in federal fund trustee and benefit payments for the Partnership for Success Grant. The grant total is for $2.6 million over five years.

This agency is both heavily dependent on federal funds, 93 percent of the total funds are federal dollars and the appropriation increases the dependency on federal dollars.

Because it has departed substantially from its original mission and because it would make the state more reliant on the federal government, the Legislature should reconsider this budget.

Final score: (-)