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 1403 is a supplemental appropriation that moves $30,809,300 ARPA funds from the Children's Programs Division to the Office of the State Board of Education. It also appropriates an additional $2 million to the STEM Action Center and $1,250,000 to the Commission for Libraries.
Senate Bill 1403 appropriates more than $30.8 million in funds from the American Rescue Plan Act Fund to the Office of the State Board of Education with the primary objective of building a new data system. This is a 126% increase to the office’s budget for the 2022 fiscal year. The SBOE would be allowed to reappropriate these funds for the 2023 fiscal year, adding them to the $25 million in ARPA money they were already given.
It is inappropriate for these funds to be used to fulfill the state agencies’ wish lists. These funds are borrowed from our grandchildren and should be used to benefit them, as the legislature recognized in statute when they accepted this money in 2021.
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