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Idaho state budget and finances

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Idaho state budget

Flag of Idaho.png
Budget calendar:  Annual
Fiscal year:  2013
Date signed:  April 2012
Financial figures
GF expenses:  $2.7 billion
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Idaho operates on an annual budget cycle. Its fiscal year begins July 1.

Idaho's FY2013 general fund budget passed by the Idaho State Legislature and signed by Gov. Butch Otter in April 2012 is more than $2.7 billion and increase spending 6.8 percent over the prior year.[1]

As of August 2012, Idaho has a total state debt of approximately $11579504, when calculated by adding the total of outstanding official debt, pension and other post-employment benefits (OPEB) liabilities, Unemployment Trust Fund loans, and the FY2013 budget gap.[2] The prior year's total state debt was $11,953,729,000.[3]

Idaho's total state debt per capita is $7,305.75, as of October 2012.[4]

See also: The Idaho State Budget on State Budget Solutions

Federal Aid to State Budget

The chart below represents how much of the state’s budget comes from the federal government.[5] The number is the corresponding ranking in relation to the rest of the nation (if #1, the state receives the highest percentage of federal funding in the nation):

State 2008 2009 2010 2011
Idaho 30.05% (#25) 34.02% (#23) 39.73% (#17) 38.19% (#19)
  • Figures were calculated by dividing each state’s intergovernmental revenue into its general revenue.[6][7]

FY2014 State Budget

Gov. Butch Otter delivered his state of the state and FY2014 state budget address on Jan. 7, 2013, and that can be found here.[8]

Highlights of the governor's proposed budget:

  • a repeal of Idaho’s personal property tax, and has set aside $20 million for the cost of transitioning;
  • The FY201414 budget is $2.78 billion, $84 million more than the FY2013 state budget, an increase of 3.1%;
  • The governor’s budget is based on a 5.27% increase in revenue;
  • no expansion of Medicaid eligibility;
  • $25.6 million more for K-12 education than the prior year, an increase of 2%.

Idaho's FY2014 general fund budget of $2.78 billion passed the Idaho State Legislature in April 2013.[9][10]

FY 2013 State Budget

The state's FY2013 state budget as enacted can be found here. It increases spending 6.8 percent over the prior year.[11]

The budget includes a $36 million in tax relief plan[12] that reduces the top corporate and individual tax rates from 7.6 and 7.8 percent, respectively, to 7.4 percent.[13]

The budget is based on a revenue estimate that is 4.5% above FY 2012, or $2,667,582,000 for the purpose of setting budgets.[13]

The FY2013 state budget increases Medicaid spending by 5.7 percent for FY2013, including an appropriation of $474 million in state funding.[14]

The federal aid Idaho receives supports more than one-third of state spending.[15] In June 2012, the governor instructed state agencies to prepare contingency plans should they lose up to 20 percent of their federal funding, although the 20 percent is a worse case scenario figure, according to Lt. Gov. Brad Little.[15]

Legislative Proposed Budget

On March 16, 2012, the Idaho House voted 58-9 to approve the FY2013 state budget.[16] The budget includes:

  • increases state support public universities by $18.1 million
  • 2 percent raise for state employees.

The Idaho budget book used by legislators can be found here. It is the primary reference document used by the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee when drafting the Idaho state budget. It contains the budget requests from all state agencies along with Governor's Recommendation and analyst comments and descriptions of the agency and their budget.

Governor's Proposed Budget

Gov. Butch Otter proposed a $2.8 billion budget for FY2013. The Governor's proposed budget documents can be found here.

Of the proposed budget, $481 million, or 17%, would go to Medicaid, which serves more than 230,000 Idahoans. In FY2013, the federal government will pay 70.81% of Medicaid costs.[17]

The governor's proposal allocates $45 million for general tax relief in his fiscal 2013 budget proposal. He also recommended $60 million for savings and $41 million for employee raises, based on a 5.8 percent, $148 million increase in revenue next year.[18]

FY 2012 State Budget

The state budget for FY2012 totaled $2.2 billion, down significantly from the $3.2 billion budget of FY2007. The governor has said that he wants those cuts to be permanent.[19] That may be necessary, given that the Division of Financial Management reported that general fund receipts were 4.4 percent below the projected $199 million in August 2011.[20]


The state ended FY2012 with revenues up 5.9 percent, approximately 1.5 percent above the official projection from state economists. The state ended up with $2.587 billion in tax receipts.[21]

On the Governor’s recommendation, the Legislature enacted provisions transferring most of the excess revenue into the Budget Stabilization Fund – the State’s primary “rainy day” account.[22]

Budget as passed

A FY2012 budget summary prepared by the Division of Financial Management can be found here.

The Governor and Legislature balanced the State budget without raising taxes or instituting new fees. State employees will not receive a raise. The Legislature adopted the 3 percent revenue growth rate.[23] As of August 2011, Idaho was expected to end FY2012 with a budget surplus of $179 million.[19] That was a big change from Nov. 2010, when the Legislature’s budget analysts said that the next budget could have a shortfall of between $237 million and $438 million, which the budget closed.[24] Lawmakers cannot turn to two key reserve funds to pay for state services because both the Budget Stabilization Fund and Economic Recovery Reserve Fund are expected to be at zero at the end of FY2011.[25]

Education Overhaul and Protests

State Public Instruction Superintendent Tom Luna proposed an education reform package to overhaul the state's K-12 education system and lawmakers have approved two of three bills that reform to Idaho's schools.[26]

Collective Bargaining and Tenure

The state legislature passed Senate Bill 1108, which limits teachers' collective bargaining rights to salary and benefits.[27] It takes out issues such as class sizes, teacher workload and promotions from collective bargaining, and it permits collective bargaining only if the teachers union can prove it represents more than 50 percent of employees.[28][29][30] It eliminates tenure for new teachers[26], with new educators instead being offered one- to two-year contracts following a three-year probationary period.[31]

Lawmakers also passed 1110, which institutes merit pay bonuses to teachers for student achievement.[26]

Lawmakers are considering another bill that is part of the overhaul the education system in the state, 1113, which calls for more technology in the classroom and requires online courses and increase the number of students per classroom to pay for it.[26] The Senate approved the bill, as did the House Education Committee so it now goes the full House.[32]

The entire overhaul plan would eliminate 770 teaching positions but would use $250 million to raise pay for teachers. [33] Gov. Otter supports the measures.[33]

The Idaho Education Association warned the plan would drastically cut the ability of unions to bargain.[33][34] Hundreds of teachers protested the bills on Feb. 21, 2011.[30]

Education spending

For FY2012, Idaho devoted 25.0% of its total spending to K-12 education, up from 22.3% in FY2010.[35]

Fiscal Year Total Spending[36] Education Spending[37] Percent Education Spending
2009 $11.5 billion $3.3 billion 28.6%
2010 $11.8 billion $3.2 billion 27.1%
2011 $11.5 billion $3.2 billion 27.8%
2012 $11.3 billion $3.3 billion 29.2%

Budget transparency

See also: Evaluation of Idaho state website and Constitutional provisions regarding reading of bills

The Idaho state constitution provides in Article 3, Section 15 that a bill be read on three days in each legislative chamber previous to the final vote. This provision is dispensable in case of urgency with a 2/3 of the member of the house where bill is pending. Final passage of all bills must read at length.[38]

The state currently has no statewide, official spending database online, despite Idaho Representative Phil Hart's work to promote transparency through Idaho House Bill 177 in 2009.[39]

Government tools

The following table is helpful in evaluating the level of transparency provided by a state spending and transparency database:

Criteria for evaluating spending databases
State Database Searchability Grants Contracts Line Item Expenditures Dept/Agency Budgets Public Employee Salary Exemption Level
None n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a

Transparency Legislation

See also: Idaho transparency legislation


  • By a vote of 6-3, the Idaho House Commerce and Human Resources Committee killed a public records bill that proposed that 114 non-government organizations to comply to the Public Records Law that participate in the state pension system. [40]

Multi-Measure Budget Transparency Profile

The Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois has created a multi-measure transparency profile for Idaho, which measures state transparency as of September 2011 using indicators from a range of organizations.[41] These indicators measure both website transparency and other recognized facets of governmental transparency. In addition, IGPA presents four unique indicators of non-transparency based on the observation that transfers or reassignments between general and special funds can obscure the true fiscal condition of a state.

In addition to the individual state profile, IGPA offers a 50-state comparison along with other state transparency profiles.[42][43].

Accounting principles

See also: Idaho government accounting principles

The Legislative Audits Division of the Legislative Services Office, under the direction of the Legislative Council, is charged with the responsibility to audit the State of Idaho’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) and perform the annual Federal Single Audit required by federal regulations.[44] Their audit reports are published online.[45] Don Berg is Manager of the Division.[46]

Donna M. Jones has been Idaho State Controller since 2007. The Idaho state controller is one of seven statewide elected constitutional officers in the executive branch of Idaho state government and serves a four-year term. In 1994, a constitutional amendment passed by Idaho voters changed the name of the state auditor to state controller. This amendment granted the state controller the authority to establish statewide internal pre-audit accounting controls to assure state funds are spent properly. The amendment transferred post-audit functions to the Legislative Services Office enabling separation of accounting and after-the-fact auditing operations.[47]

The state controller is the chief fiscal officer of the state of Idaho, responsible for:[47]

  • Maintaining all accounting and financial records
  • Paying all the state’s bills and employees
  • Preparing the state’s annual financial report
  • Operating the state’s Computer Service Center
Credit Rating Fitch Moody's S&P
Idaho[48] NR Aa2 AA+

Standard & Poor's boosted the state's credit rating from AA to AA+ in part because of the state's use-of-revenue assumptions that would put the state on more solid financial ground. [49]


Idaho has received $1.6 billion in federal stimulus funding between February 2009 to June 2013.[50]

Idaho received $104 million from the federal government under H.R. 1586, a $26 billion plan to give states money for Medicaid and education that the President signed into law on August 10, 2010.[51]

Public Employees

See also Idaho public employee salaries and Idaho public pensions

According to 2011 Census data, the state of Idaho and local governments in the state employed a total of 102,176 people.[52] Of those employees, 68,346 were full-time employees receiving a net pay of $247,139,147 per month and 33,830 were part-time employees paid $27,256,237 per month.[52] More than 57% of those employees, or 58,928 employees, were in education or higher education.[52]

A Change in Employee Compensation and Benefits by the Idaho Department of Administration reported that public employees wages were usually behind market jobs, but that public employees received a much larger benefit package. The report recommended a 3 percent increase in public employee pay, merit-based, and a reduction in employee benefits. The plan would cost $34.2 million.[53]

See also

External links

Additional reading


  1. The Idaho Reporter "Replacing one-time money, use of federal funds are factors in Idaho’s budgeting decisions" April 14, 2012
  2. State Budget Solutions "State Budget Solutions' third annual State Debt Report shows total state debt over $4 trillion" Aug. 28, 2012
  3. State Budget Solutions “Report reveals aggregate state debt exceeds $4 trillion” Oct. 24, 2011
  4. State Budget Solutions "State debt more than $37,000 per private worker, $13,000 per capita" Oct. 2, 2012
  5. Tax Foundation "Federal Aid to State Budgets
  6. US Census Federal Aid to State and Local Governments
  7. Tax Foundation' "Monday Map: Federal Aid to State Budgets. Accessed October 15, 2013
  8. The Idaho Statesman "Butch Otter delivers State of the State 1/7/2013"Jan. 7, 2013
  9. NPR "What Idaho’s $2.78 Billion Budget Looks Like," Accessed August 21, 2013
  10. "Budget Activities Summary 2013," Accessed August 21, 2013
  11. The Idaho Reporter "Replacing one-time money, use of federal funds are factors in Idaho’s budgeting decisions" April 14, 2012
  12. Idaho Press "Budget writers worry about 2014 fiscal challenges" June 18, 2012
  13. 13.0 13.1 FY2012 Idaho Division of Financial Management "Legislative Session Budget Activities Summary" May 2012
  14. Idaho Reporter "Study compares Idaho’s soaring Medicaid spending to other reform states" June 9, 2012
  15. 15.0 15.1 The Idaho Statesman "Gov. Butch Otter to Idaho's agencies: plan for deep cuts in federal funds" June 17, 2012
  16. Businessweek "Idaho House approves higher education budget' March 16, 2012
  17. Idaho Reporter "Medicaid eats up at least 17 percent of state budget and number could grow" Jan. 17, 2012
  18. Standard-Examiner "Idaho hesitates on tax relief" Jan. 17, 2012
  19. 19.0 19.1 Businessweek "Idaho forecasts $179M budget surplus in 2012" Aug. 16, 2011
  20. The Idaho Statesman "Bad news for the state budget — and the Idaho economy" Sept. 12, 2011
  21. Boise Weekly "Fiscal Year 2012 Ends With Additional Revenues; $35 Million Earmarked For 'Rainy Day'" July 13, 2012
  22. The Spokesman Review "Otter: Fiscal year ends better than expected, state ‘well positioned’" July 13, 2012
  23. Idaho Division of Financial Management "Budget Summary"
  24. Idaho Reporter "Ten percent smaller state budget potentially the new normal" Nov. 15, 2010
  25. Idaho Reporter "Empty reserves a key factor in state budget crunch" Dec. 30, 2011
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 26.3 "Luna Confident Entire Ed Reform Will Pass" March 10, 2011
  27. "Idaho Votes to Phase Out Teacher Tenure, Restrict Collective Bargaining" March 9, 2011
  28. "Idaho Votes to Phase Out Teacher Tenure, Restrict Collective Bargaining" March 9, 2011
  29. "Idaho House passes Senate Bill 1108 48-22" March 8, 2011
  30. 30.0 30.1 Reuters "Idaho teachers unions protest against proposed cuts" Feb. 22, 2011
  31. "Idaho Cripples Union Power" March 9, 2011
  32. The Daily Reporter "Lawmakers send final education reform bill to Idaho House for debate" March 31, 2011
  33. 33.0 33.1 33.2 All Headline News "Idaho teachers protest proposed overhaul" Feb. 22, 2011
  34. Idaho Education Association "Despite public opposition, Luna bills go to full Senate" Feb. 18, 2011
  35. State Budget Solutions "Throwing Money At Education Isn't Working" Sept. 12, 2012
  36. "Idaho Government Spending Chart - Total Spending" Aug. 4, 2012
  37. "IdahoGovernment Spending Chart - Education Spending"Aug. 4, 2012
  38. Article 3, Section 15
  39. House Bill 177 (2009)
  40. "Magic Valley Times News" Idaho House panel kills public records bill March 18, 2011
  41. Transparency profile for Idaho
  42. 50-state Comparison
  43. State Profiles
  44. The Legislative Audits Division
  45. Audit reports
  46. Idaho Legislative Audits Division Web site, retrieved October 20, 2009
  47. 47.0 47.1 Office of the Idaho State Controller Web site, retrieved October 20, 2009
  48. "State of Indiana", “State Credit Ratings-as of June 24, 2009
  49. Dow Jones Newswire "S&P Upgrades Idaho A Notch On Structural Balance, Pension Management' March 30, 2011
  50. Recovery, "Stimulus Spending by State"
  51. Federal Fund Information for States “ARRA FMAP Extension & Education Jobs Fund Totals” Aug. 11, 2010
  52. 52.0 52.1 52.2 2011 Idaho Public Employment U.S. Census Data
  53. Idaho Reporter, Report says state workers should get pay raise, benefit cuts, Dec. 8, 2010