The Idaho Budget Index examines appropriation bills on several fronts to add important context to lawmakers’ discussions as they are considered on the floor of the House and Senate. 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.


The agricultural research and extension services operates under the University of Idaho with 9 major research and extension centers and offices in 42 of Idaho’s 44 counties.

This budget has grown very rapidly in the last several years with a large increase in headcount. In Fiscal Year 2018 there were 301 appropriated full-time positions (FTPs). For the Fiscal Year 2020, the request is for 344 FTPs.

This budget request includes 3.57 more FTPs over the current headcount. Included was a position that the governor did not request, an FTP for a 4-H STEM education. This an outreach position, not one that would do academic work (Legislative Budget Book, FY20, page 1-54). In addition, there are also two positions added that the governor also recommended, for research positions for the Rinker Rock Creek Ranch south of Sun Valley.

Rating: -1