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 1401 appropriates $86,408,800 and 371.50 full-time positions to the Divisions of Indirect Support Services, Licensing & Certification, and Independent Councils.
Senate Bill 1401 increases the budget for these divisions by more than $16.3 million (23.3%) from what was originally appropriated in fiscal year 2022. Approximately 91% ($14.9 million) of these additional funds came from federal sources. This increase makes 67% of the department’s budget dependent on federal dollars.
Among the federal funds appropriated to the IDHW, $8.3 million come from the American Rescue Plan Act. Idaho Statute recognizes that these funds were borrowed from our grandchildren and should be spent to benefit them. Despite this intent, the IDHW’s Division of Indirect Support Services is spending $2.3 million of this money to give themselves a technology upgrade like new computers and phones in their office. This violates the intent and purpose of these funds.
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