Senate Bill 1353 – Public health districts

Fred Birnbaum 2020 Idaho Spending Index Leave a Comment

Rating: – 1

Bill description: Public health districts, Fiscal Year 2021 appropriation

Idaho’s seven health districts provide health services throughout the state. Each district works under the direction of its own board of health, appointed by county commissioners within each region. The districts are not part of any state agency, but they work in partnership with the Department of Health and Welfare and other state entities to deliver services and disburse public information to local communities. They are funded by both the state and county taxpayers.

The accepted Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee motion added a $105,400 line item for a community health collaborative. This was not recommended by the governor and not supported unanimously as most JFAC motions are. The collaborative applies to only two of the seven districts, has no real objective, and a very fuzzy mission, “building partnerships to maintain a diverse Western Idaho Community Health Collaborative (WICHC) membership, providing operational and administrative support for WICHC meetings, etc.” What is described should be part of routine operations. \

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The Idaho Spending Index examines appropriation bills on several fronts to add important context to lawmakers’ discussions as the spending bills are considered on the House and Senate floors. Among the issues we look at in drawing a conclusion about a budget:

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? Does the budget examine existing spending 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 the addition of 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 sincerely objectionable or sincerely supportable.