Articles Idaho State News

Gov. Little’s Budget Blowout: The Hidden Story of the 2022 Legislative Session

“We are now a state that balances its budgets on the back of borrowed federal funds pumped into our educational and health care systems, with no exit strategy if federal funding returns to pre-COVID levels.”

By Fred Birnbaum, Idaho Freedom Foundation

April 5, 2022

It is hard to find the superlatives to properly describe Idaho’s new budget, which takes effect July 1. It’s breathtaking in terms of the sheer size of the increase, abetted with the infusion of billions of dollars of federal money via the COVID relief fund pipelines. 

Idaho has seen a massive infusion of federal funding via COVID relief packages like the America Rescue Plan Act. This funding has swelled total state spending up 47.5% from an actual $8.75 billion in FY20 to an estimated $12.9 billion in FY23. 

While Gov. Brad Little and legislative leadership will report a 9.5% increase in general fund appropriations from fiscal year 2022 (FY22) to fiscal year 2023 (FY23), the actual number is 21.4%. 

How did a supposedly fiscally conservative state grow the budget in one year by such a staggering amount?

Read on.

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