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.
Bill Description: Senate Bill 1388 appropriates $3,547,400 and 25.00 full-time positions to the Office of the State Appellate Public Defender.
Senate Bill 1388 grants a budget increase of nearly 12% ($375,800) to the Office of the State Appellate Public Defender. A substantial portion of this increase is due to the statewide change in employee compensation and salary increases for attorneys, who will get a combined raise of 11%. This salary increase is required by Idaho Code, since the Office of the Attorney General gave their lawyers a similar increase. Both agencies must maintain parity between their attorneys, to ensure that a defendant using a public defender is not put at a disadvantage when using a public defender.
Though these salary increases were dependent on the budget approval of another office, it is still an inappropriate use of public funds to give hefty raises to state attorneys.