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 1211 provides for $145,957,000 in miscellaneous cash transfers to close out the 2023 fiscal year.
Does this budget enact powers and activities that extend beyond the proper role of government? Conversely, does this budget fulfill the proper role of government?
Senate Bill 1211 transfers $15 million from the Workforce Development Training Fund for semiconductor workforce grants to the Workforce Development Council. These funds will be used to support semiconductor manufacturing in Idaho as part of a federal match requirement for the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPs) act. The director noted that this funding will be used to support Micron Technology’s “unique manufacturing process” for their new semiconductor manufacturing facility being constructed in the Treasure Valley.
This is not the proper role of government taxpayers to support training employees who can only work for a single company. Private businesses should support training for their own employees when that training could only benefit their operations.
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.)?
This legislation provides an additional $29,327,600 for the Public Education Stabilization Fund. This is a wasteful expense because there have not been charges greater than $16 million incurred to the fund in the last three years. The current balance for the fund is $124.6 million.
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?
These supplemental transfers are not emergency expenditures. Rather, they leverage the surplus General Fund dollars that should either be 2024 fiscal year expenditures or returned to the taxpayer. These transfers do two things. First, they allow for the storage of surplus funds from the General Fund for use in future projects. Second, they hide spending because they are not accounted for in any of the agency budgets. This limits transparency in the budgeting process and deprives taxpayers of the funds they overpaid to the state.