The Idaho Spending Index examines appropriation bills on several fronts to add important context to lawmakers’ discussions as they are considered on the floor of the House and Senate. 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 1090 appropriates $58,887,900 and 63.25 full-time positions to the Office of the State Board of Education for fiscal year 2023.
The budget proposed in Senate Bill 1390 significantly expands the size of the State Board of Education by increasing the budget by 139.9% and adding 6.5 new full-time positions, compared to the agency’s appropriation in fiscal year 2022. In fact, the board plans to spend $749,900 on new staff with money from the General Fund.
In addition to expanding the number of employees, the agency would receive an increase in federal funding — 370.3% more than what it received in fiscal year 2022. As a result, 72% of its budget comes from federal sources. Additionally, more than $25 million of these federal funds come from the American Rescue Plan Act. All but $133,700 of this money is earmarked for the Strong Families, Strong Students program. The remaining ARPA funds will go to administrative and IT costs within the Office of the State Board of Education.
This budget proposal represents an egregious expansion of the state bureaucracy, through increased dependence on federal support.
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