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Senate Bill 1402 – Division of Veterans Services, Appropriations FY25

Senate Bill 1402 – Division of Veterans Services, Appropriations FY25

Niklas Kleinworth
March 5, 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: -3

Bill Description: Senate Bill 1402 appropriates $105,298,500 and 439.50 full-time positions to the Division of Veterans Services 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.)? 

This legislation appropriates $34 million federal funding to renovate the Lewiston Veterans Home. This funding would be used to convert double rooms into single rooms and add kitchenettes and dining space throughout the facility.

The agency did not cite any concerns with the existing state of the facility nor any deferred maintenance backlogs that would warrant a renovation of the Lewiston facility. This seems to fall in line with wants rather than needs of the agency.


ANALYST NOTE: Senate Bill 1402 adds $8.6 million for a multi-year project to replace the Boise Veterans Home. The original request for this project was fully funded in the 2023 fiscal year at $68 million. The agency cites inflation as a reason for the added project costs. This request is four times what would be prescribed by inflation since the request was funded but would be at parity with inflation when measured from the time the bid took place.

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 program maintenance budget for the Division of Veterans Services of $61,356,300. This growth from the FY 2022 base is more than three times higher than 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?

Senate Bill 1402 appropriates $73.1 million in federal funding to support the Division of Veterans Services. This constitutes 69.5% of the agency’s total budget. Most of this federal funding comes in the form of miscellaneous federal grants used to support the construction of the new Boise Veterans Home. This accounts for approximately $68 million in continuously appropriated funding.

This legislation adds an additional $43 million to the total federal funding. This is composed of approximately 8.6 million in additional funding to cover inflationary increases for the construction of the Boise Veterans Home and $34.4 million to renovate the Lewiston Veterans Home.

The agency not only demonstrates substantial dependence on federal funding to support its recent projects, but this budget expands this dependency in the 2025 fiscal year.


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