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 1206 appropriates $1,123,677,600 to the Public School Operations Division 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 1206 provides $48,849,900 in discretionary funds to the Division. This is substantially more than the original request made to the governor, which was only $23,826,400. This value appropriated in this legislation for discretionary funds would provide a 17.3% increase over the funds already included in the base for this purpose.
These funds are intended to curb inflation and pandemic-related spending. However, the Biden Administration announced that the pandemic will be ending before this new budget takes effect at the start of the fiscal year. Additionally, this growth is far greater than the rate of inflation. The governor’s office and the Legislature have both publicly noted their forecast for a recession in 2024, bringing down inflationary pressures. This line item appropriates far more than what would be warranted, given the rationale provided since these funds will be ongoing.
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 Operations at $943,523,700, growing from the base by 26.4% in the last three years. This rate is nearly double what would be prescribed by inflationary pressures and growth.