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 1136 appropriates $6,222,800 and 8.00 full-time positions to the STEM Action Center for fiscal year 2024.
Does this budget incur any wasteful spending among discretionary funds, including new line items? Conversely, does this budget contain any provisions that serve to reduce spending where possible (i.e. base reductions, debt reconciliation, etc.)?
Senate Bill 1136 provides for the addition of 2.00 full-time positions to establish a communications and marketing team in the STEM Action Center. The notes on these line items indicate that the agency spends $166,900 (16.7% of its annual fundraising amount) for a contractor to conduct their marketing operations. However, the move for these operations to be conducted in-house will cost the agency a total of $183,600 in salaries and benefits alone. $83,300 of this will be new spending. Without factoring materials, operations, maintenance, and technology costs, this move will cost taxpayers more than if they continued to use a contract marketing team. This is a wasteful initiative on the part of the STEM Action Center.
Is the maintenance budget inappropriate for the needs of the state, the size of the agency, or the inflationary environment of the economy? Conversely, is the maintenance budget appropriate given the needs of the state and economic pressures?
This legislation sets the maintenance budget for the STEM Action Center at $6,133,500, only growing from the base by 7.8% over the last three years. This rate is much slower than the rate of inflation over the same period, demonstrating modest growth in the cost to maintain the agency.