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 1138 appropriates $5,829,600 and 43.12 full-time positions to the Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired for fiscal year 2024.
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 would set the maintenance budget for the Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired at $5,578,600, growing from the base by 8.7% in the last three years. This rate is about five percentage points slower than the rate of inflation over the same period, demonstrating an acceptable amount of growth in the maintenance of operations over time.
Does this budget perpetuate or expand state dependence on federal dollars, thereby violating principles of federalism? Conversely, does this budget actively reduce the amount of federal dollars used to balance this budget?
The commission is heavily dependent on federal funding to support its operations and staff. Just under 65% of the total budget and 75% of its staff positions would be covered by federal money under this legislation. This budget would also add two new, full-time positions that are partially funded by federal grants. Approximately 91% of the cost to support these positions would come by this revenue stream.
This agency is charged with the duty to administer federal vocational rehabilitation programs at the state level for those who are blind and visually impaired. This explains why large portions of their budget are federally sourced. However, this violates the principles of federalism as it is not the duty of the state to administer federal programs on behalf of those who are blind and visually impaired.
Does the budget grow government through the addition of new permanent FTPs or through funding unlegislated efforts to create new or expanded entitlement programs? Conversely, does this budget reduce the size of government staff and programs except where compelled by new legislation?
This legislation would grow government by adding two new, full-time positions – one business analyst and one rehabilitation teacher for the Treasure Valley. The agency justifies these positions through new federal mandates tied to funding, as 90% of the cost of adding these positions is covered by that same funding. The remaining 10% of the cost is covered by the General Fund.
Adding these two new positions will grow the size of the agency, ongoing spending, and the overall size of government.
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