The Idaho Spending Index examines appropriation bills on several fronts to add some important context to lawmakers’ discussions as the spending bills are considered on the House and Senate floors. As we look at the budget, we consider the following issues:
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? Have budget-writers reviewed existing outlays 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 adding 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 truly objectionable or legitimate and worthy of support.
Bill Description: Health and Welfare department, Division of Welfare, FY22 appropriation
There is one specific line that drives this entire budget increase, an FY22 COVID relief act discretionary appropriation of $33.9 million. The notation is that this $33.9 million is for child care. The overall increase for this budget is 20.2% over prior year, with a 28.8% increase in federal funds. Put simply, we are passing on debt to our children and tomorrow’s children to pay for child care today. This is not sound public policy, and no way to ensure a bright future for our children.