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Senate Bill 1426 – Health and Welfare, Family and Community Services, Appropriations FY25

Senate Bill 1426 – Health and Welfare, Family and Community Services, Appropriations FY25

Niklas Kleinworth
March 18, 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: -1

Bill Description: Senate Bill 1426 appropriates $165,404,400 and 776.51 full-time positions to the Department of Health and Welfare, Family and Community Services for fiscal year 2025.

The operational Division of Family and Community Services includes the Divisions of Services for the Developmentally Disabled, Child Welfare, and Service Integration.

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.)? 

Senate Bill 1426 provides for a $320,000 reduction in ongoing personnel funding to the Division of Services for the Developmentally Disabled. As of the budget hearing before JFAC, the agency had a staff vacancy rate of more than 10%.

Similarly, this legislation removes $45,000 in personnel costs from the Division of Service Integration to account for excess funding in that object class. Both divisions requested a supplemental appropriation for the 2024 fiscal year that would transfer these personnel costs to operating expenditures. 

All executive agencies will receive appropriations to pay for a 3% increase in employee compensation this fiscal year — a common adjustment. Removing funds allocated to unfilled positions prevents the statewide increase from simply accruing in the account, then being reallocated for purposes. The cuts featured in this legislation prevent the agency from inappropriately using unfilled positions as a savings account with interest.


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 maintenance budget for Family and Community Services at $154,842,500, growing it from the base by 30.3% in the last three years. This rate is 68% faster 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?

This legislation appropriates more than $90.3 million in federal funding to Family and Community Services — approximately 54.6% of the division’s total appropriation for fiscal year 2025. Federal funding also supports more than 57% of the division’s full-time equivalent positions. This demonstrates exceptional dependency on the federal government to support programs and operations.

Within the Division of Services for the Developmentally Disabled, there is one line item request to add nearly $2 million in funding for infant and toddler education. This program is mandated by the state’s participation under the federal Disabilities Education Act. The added cost is due to a change in the federal reimbursement rate for contractors providing this service under Medicaid. This program is a tangible example of how the federal government has co-opted the agency to administer programs and services.

Some of the new federal funding within the Division of Child Welfare comes from an expansion in dollars allocated to the Idaho Children’s Trust Fund. This program is used to provide grants to private entities that deal with issues concerning child abuse and neglect. The request for an additional $98,700 in funding would partially support expanding the role of a grants manager for the program. This expanded capacity naturally enables the agency to continue to grow its dependency on federal funds.


Does this budget contain hidden fund transfers or supplemental expenditures that work to enact new policy or are not valid emergency expenditures? Conversely, are fund transfers only made to stabilization funds or are supplemental requests only made in the interest of resolving valid fiscal emergencies?

This legislation includes several supplemental requests for the 2024 fiscal year. All of these requests count as unexpected expenditures and valid uses of a mid-year adjustment. 

These requests include several transfers from personnel costs to operating expenditures to cover unanticipated expenditures. A new piece of language included in the FY24 budget prevented the agency from making such transfers without legislative approval. This was unanticipated, and unaccounted for in the agency’s original budget request. Such requests are seen for the Division of Services for the Developmentally Disabled and the Division of Service Integration.

There is also a supplemental request within the Division of Services for the Developmentally Disabled for $1.3 million to cover shortfalls in how Medicaid reimburses crisis bed patients at the Southwest Idaho Treatment Center (SWITC). The budget also contains a $400,000 request for community-based care to reduce costs that would otherwise be incurred at SWITC, and nearly $2 million for the FMAP infant and toddler education rate changes similar to those seen in the FY25 request.

This legislation provides for a supplemental request within the Division of Child Welfare that adds $5.1 million to the Foster and Assistance Payments Program. These funds would support nondiscretionary adjustments related to unforeseen increases in cost-based pricing and caseloads. This is a valid emergency expenditure warranting a supplemental appropriation for the 2024 fiscal year.


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