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: FY22 Additional Appropriation for the Department of Health and Welfare, Public Health Services
If there was ever a case of throwing money at perceived problems, this appropriation is example A. This appropriation provides the H&W department’s Division of Public Health Services with $40.3 million to pay for laboratory testing for Covid-19 in Idaho’s public and private schools. And to provide testing data. No real plan was provided either.
A good example of something requested only because otherwise the federal money would be idle. These funds must be expended by July 31, 2022.