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 1201 appropriates $34,666,000 and 267.20 full-time positions to the Division of Occupational and Professional Licenses for fiscal year 2024.
With the exception of one line item for human resource consolidation, this bill is a true maintenance budget for the Division of Occupational and Professional Licenses. It does not approve any new line-item expenditures, supplemental requests, or new full-time positions. There is also no way to measure growth within the agency since the Division was not established until 2022.
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.)?
The Division of Occupational Licenses has chronic issues among the boards and commissions it oversees keeping cash balances that far exceed expenditures. These boards and commissions include the Real Estate Commission with an excess cash balance that is 242% of expenditures ($1.8 million excess); the Division of Building Safety with an excess cash balance that is double expenditures ($9.4 million excess); and the Board of Medicine with an excess cash balance of 150% of expenditures ($2.4 million excess). This provides a total of $13.6 million.
Ordinarily, fees are intended to support the operating costs associated with processing licenses. It is evident by the excessive fund balances that these agencies are able to cover their internal costs. The solution from the committee was to make these funds distributable to other boards and agencies within the Division. However, this sends the wrong message. Boards with excess funds should either reduce their fees or consider a fee holiday. Redistributing the funds to the other boards and commissions only encourages these fees to remain and does not solve the issue of excess revenues.