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 1396 appropriates $3,180,600 and 11.0 full-time positions to the Office of Energy and Mineral Resources for fiscal year 2023.
The fiscal year 2023 budget for the Office of Energy and Mineral Resources has substantial growth in federal funding. The 304% increase in federal funding doubled the agency’s overall budget. Most of these federal funds go to the Energy Efficiency Loan Program, Energy Efficiency & Conservation Grants, and the State Energy Program. This money is granted through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 to provide temporary funding for the next five years.
This bill is objectionable due to the fact that the agency adds three new full-time positions to their staff, using the temporary IIJA grant funding. With no funding beyond the next five years, these programs will inevitably receive funding through other modes in order to survive. The Energy Efficiency Loan Program and the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Grant program both originated from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Now out of funding, both programs would receive support through the new IIJA funds. This budget is merely the perpetuation of government programs that were originally supposed to be temporary.
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