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Senate Bill 1385 – Commission for Libraries, Appropriations FY25

Senate Bill 1385 – Commission for Libraries, Appropriations FY25

Niklas Kleinworth
March 1, 2024

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

Rating: -1

Bill Description: Senate Bill 1385 appropriates $7,459,000 and 35.50 full-time positions to the Commission for Libraries for fiscal year 2025.

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 1385 appropriates $750,000 to fund the Digital Access for All Idahoans Grant program. These funds come from the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. In part, these funds are designed to implement the federal Digital Equity Act. These funds are intended to support efforts for “affordable internet” for various minority groups.

There was already $1.7 million appropriated for this program in the base budget for the agency. However, there is a note that these funds will also be used to fulfill part of the requirements for the use of $583 million from federal Broadband, Equity, Access and Deployment grants.

These funds are also part of a long-term program projected to spend more than $25 million throughout its lifecycle.

In large part, these funds are being used to subsidize the internet industry. It is the role of the market, not the government to provide accessible, low-cost broadband access to residents. This is because unlike other public utilities like roads, internet companies are private organizations that ultimately own the infrastructure once it is in place. Subsidizing broadband is like subsidizing any other private industry, stifling market incentives to bring affordability and connectivity where it is needed.


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 confirms the maintenance budget for the Commission for Libraries of $6,616,500, demonstrating 12.3% growth in the last three years. This rate is acceptable compared to what would be prescribed by inflationary pressures and growth.


Does this budget perpetuate or expand state dependence on federal dollars, thereby violating principles of federalism? Conversely, does this budget actively reduce the amount of federal dollars used to balance this budget?

Through a combination of federal grant programs, including the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and reappropriated funds from the American Rescue Plan Act, the Idaho Commission for Libraries is 35% federally funded. Also 9.8 FTPs are sustained by federal dollars. These metrics illustrate the Commission for Libraries is substantially dependent on federal funding to sustain its programs and operations.


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