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 1411 appropriates $34,569,100 and 9 FTPs to the Workforce Development Council for FY23.
This appropriation takes $25 million of ARPA funds from the federal government. The ARPA grant is greater than the entire regular appropriation for this agency.
Senate Bill 1204 (2021) acknowledged that these ARPA funds are borrowed from our grandchildren. Despite this, the bill uses the money to provide workforce training grants. Idaho currently has more job openings than willing workers. Given that, it is not unreasonable to expect private employers to train new workers.
With this appropriation, this agency of six people will grow by 50% to a staff of nine. As with other appropriations using ARPA funds to increase headcounts, we are told that two of the positions won’t remain after the funds are exhausted, but headcount reduction is never an easy task for an agency once it has increased in size.
Finally, the bill adds a $125k line item for a Certified Nursing Assistant study that was not requested by the agency or the governor but was added by JFAC.