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 1172 appropriates $4,038,900 and 26.00 full-time positions to the State Appellate Public Defender for fiscal year 2024 and a $67,500 supplemental for fiscal year 2023.
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.)?
House Bill 303 provides $1,932,500 to support a pay increase for Deputy Attorneys General and investigators. These funds would provide an 11% pay increase for Deputy AGs when combined with the CEC.
Idaho statute requires that the salary for public attorneys be at parity with those of the Attorney General and other state public prosecutors. Should the Attorney General’s budget pass, the State Appellate Public Defender is statutorily required to provide an equivalent increase for their attorneys. Senate Bill 1172 provides for these increases.
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 State Appellate Public Defender at $3,474,300, growing from the base by 12.4% over the last three years. This rate is approximately equal to the rate of inflation over the same period, demonstrating acceptable growth in the cost to maintain the agency.
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 1172 provides for another full-time position to hire a new Capital Litigation Attorney. The agency expects four new capital cases to begin in the coming fiscal year and requests this new position to accommodate the increased workload. The addition of this new full-time position constitutes a growth in the size of government and ongoing expenditures that will integrate into the base budget for this agency.
Does this budget contain hidden fund transfers or supplemental expenditures that work to enact new policy or are not valid emergency expenditures? Conversely, are fund transfers only made to stabilization funds or are supplemental requests only made in the interest of resolving valid fiscal emergencies?
The State Appellate Public Defender is requesting $67,500 of increased ITS storage capacity to manage the new capital cases they expect in the 2024 fiscal year. The department noted that they used nearly all of their storage capacity just after the start of the current fiscal year. With another two capital cases to come before June of 2023, the department does not have the digital storage space to accommodate these new cases.
This supplemental request mitigates a valid fiscal emergency that was not foreseen while crafting the 2023 budget and cannot wait until the start of the new fiscal year in July.