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, Divisions of Welfare and Public Health Services
This bill is an amalgamation of several American Rescue Plan Act funding requests. The four funding requests include the following: $10.2 million for vaccine administration, $14 million for energy assistance, $3.1 million for child care, and $3 million for water assistance.
All of these funds are federal funds, borrowed money, not covered by current revenues. What is missing from the conversations in consideration of this money is that ARPA passed the US Congress on almost an entirely party line vote, with a couple of Democratic party defectors and no Republican ones. Why? Because ARPA was considered too large and way beyond the scope of the Covid impact. Therefore it is surprising that Idaho’s legislature is willing to accept this money - borrowed from our kids and grandkids in support of programs that are not sustainable and serve only to increase dependency on government programs.