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 1150 appropriates $130,349,300 and 439.50 full-time positions to the Division of Veterans Services 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 sets the maintenance budget for the Division of Veterans Services at $61,611,500, growing from the base by 58.3% in the last three years. This rate is more than quadruple what would be prescribed by inflationary pressures and growth.
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?
Senate Bill 1150 appropriates $98,240,500 in federal funding to the Division of Veterans Services. That is 75% of the agency’s total budget. About $68.4 million of this funding — 70% of all federal funds in this budget — are slated for the replacement of the Boise Veterans Home. Though federal funding constitutes a large portion of the appropriations for the Division of Veterans Services, in this way, the federal government is reimbursing the state of Idaho for caring for Idahoans who served honorably in the United States military.