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 1160 appropriates $61,710,500 to Community Colleges 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 1160 appropriates a total of $343,200 in additional compensation for employee retention and recruitment at the College of Eastern Idaho and the College of Southern Idaho. The institutions cite the increased cost of housing and living expenses as key factors for the request. However, these institutions also will already benefit from the new $1.20 statewide change in employee compensation — which corresponds to a roughly 4% increase. This additional funding would provide a 5.1% overall salary funding increase for these institutions.
The language for the CEC notes that it is designed to be distributed based on merit with the flexibility to aid in recruitment and retention. This additional pay increase is more general and makes no provisions for it to be distributed based on merit. This additional employee spending is wasteful in nature.
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 Community Colleges at $59,867,200, growing from the base by 17.4% in the last three years. This rate is higher than what would be prescribed by inflationary pressures and growth.
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?
Senate Bill 1160 provides for additional funding for student retention and recruitment at the College of Western Idaho. This line item seeks to add four full-time positions exclusively to serve the Hispanic minority population at the college and the population of military students.
Community colleges are not subject to a statutory cap on full-time positions like other government agencies. However, the additional funding for these positions is ongoing and raises the cost of administering the programs at CWI, even though they do not technically raise the number of FTPs reflected in the community college budget.
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