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Your Guide to JFAC (Joint Finance Appropriations Committee)

Background

The Joint Finance Appropriations Committee is arguably the most watched and scrutinized panel in the Idaho State Legislature.  Its main job is to craft the annual state budget.  The committee is made up of ten senators and ten representatives.  Budget work starts long before lawmakers arrive in Boise. The process of allocating state and federal money starts with detailed proposals from each state agency and the governor.

Idaho State Legislature

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JFAC then considers the legislative budget book, which compiles data, reports and requests from agencies and the executive branch and weeks of committee hearings to create a budget bill that each legislative chamber must vote on.

Idaho’s state budget process is described as a comprehensive approach to governmental budgeting.  Here’s how the legislature breaks down its process:

Idaho’s Line-item, Incremental, Program Based, Modified Zero-Based Performance Budget

  1. Our process is line-item to the extent that expenditure categories are defined in the appropriation bill; Personnel Costs, Operating Expenditures, Capital Outlay, and Trustee/Benefit Payments.
  2. Our process is incremental in that it accepts previous funding decisions in establishing a “base budget” on which to build for the coming year; and provides mechanisms to allow inflationary increases and program enhancements to existing programs.
  3. Our process is Program-based in that all budget information is structured by program with emphasis on goals and objectives by function.
  4. Our process is Performance-based in that performance measures are listed in the Legislative Budget Book and the state agency Strategic Plans are submitted with the Budget request documents.
  5. Our process has elements of a Zero-based approach through encouraging one-time expenditures and sun-setting of programs, zeroing those expenditures out of the budget base each year.

 

 

Latest Posts

Idaho Budget Writers To See Policy In Action

JFAC co-chairs Dean Cameron (R-Rupert) and Maxine Bell (R-Jerome).

The lawmakers who shape Idaho’s annual budget will tour the northern part of the state this week to get a glimpse of their policy decisions in action. Members of the Joint Finance Appropriations Committee, or JFAC, will spend three days at north Idaho businesses, landmarks, and schools. Legislative budget and policy analyst Keith Bybee says [...]

Sen. Cameron: Idaho May Be “Falling Short” When It Comes To Funding Schools

Sen. Dean Cameron

Sen. Dean Cameron is a Republican from Rupert, Idaho. He represents Minidoka and Cassia Counties, and has been in the Legislature for nearly 25 years. He’s the co-chairman of the panel that crafts Idaho’s annual budget, the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee. StateImpact met with Cameron last month to hear his views on key issues including education [...]

Idaho’s November Tax Collections Come In Slightly Below Forecast

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Idaho’s Division of Financial Management reports general fund tax collections for November were down slightly from projections. The general fund is Idaho’s main bank account that’s used to pay for state government. Its balance is what legislators use to appropriate spending to all state agencies. The largest shortfall in November came from individual income taxes, [...]

Idaho Education Cuts Among Deepest In The Nation

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Idaho has cut per-student education spending by 19 percent in the last five years.  That’s according to a report published this week by the Center on Budget Policy and Priorities. Idaho schools have seen the fourth-largest cut among states since 2008, ranking behind Arizona, Alabama and Oklahoma. The report points out education funding cuts have [...]

Plan To Reverse Key Medicaid Cuts Gets A Hearing

Rep. Janice McGeachin (R-Idaho Falls) chairs the House Health and Welfare Committee.

A ranking House Republican is sponsoring a bill to reverse key cuts in Medicaid services.  Rep. Janice McGeachin (R-Idaho Falls) chairs the House Health and Welfare Committee.  That committee oversaw the state’s process of reining in Medicaid services as the state’s economy suffered the effects of the downturn.  Rep. McGeachin now says lawmakers made one [...]

A Plan In The Works To Reverse Key Medicaid Cuts

Rep. Janice McGeachin (R-Idaho Falls) chairs the House Health and Welfare Committee.

Draft legislation to reverse some of the Medicaid service cuts approved in recent years has been introduced in a House committee.  That’s according to the Idaho Council on Developmental Disabilities.  Marilyn Sword, the group’s executive director, says Rep. Janice McGeachin (R-Idaho Falls) has been working on the proposal. Rep. McGeachin, who chairs the House Health [...]

Budget Setting: How It Works, Why You Should Care

Cathy Holland-Smith

The Idaho Legislature’s Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee began budget setting in earnest this week, after weeks of hearings.  Writing the budget is the legislature’s only constitutional requirement, and it has to be balanced.  For a primer on the nuts and bolts of the process, StateImpact reached out to Cathy Holland-Smith.  She oversees budget and policy analysis [...]

Budget Setting Committee Adopts Revenue Numbers, Budget Writing Begins

Statehouse 2011 063

The Joint Finance Appropriations Committee has agreed to budget from a figure that’s about $33 million less than Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter’s recommendation. JFAC agreed with its colleagues in the Economic Outlook and Revenue Assessment Committee to set its revenue estimate below the Governor’s number.  Now, lawmakers will set the state spending plan for fiscal [...]

Budget Co-Chairman Says Public Hearing is Painful but Worthwhile

Sen. Dean Cameron is co-chairman of JFAC.

Idaho budget writers will spend Friday morning listening to constituents.  The Idaho Statesman reports it’s just the second public hearing of its kind in 92 years. In 2011, Joint Finance Appropriations Committee Co-Chairs Rep. Maxine Bell (R-Jerome) and Sen. Dean Cameron (R-Rupert) decided to open Idaho’s budgeting process to the public.  Cameron says the idea [...]

Lawmakers Likely to Have Tough Budget Choices Ahead

The budget process is just getting underway at the Statehouse.  Numbers will continue to change in the coming weeks.

As we reported yesterday, state lawmakers could have about $33 million less to spend on government services next year.  The Economic Outlook and Revenue Assessment Committee voted to create the state’s spending plan with a tax revenue estimate lower than the governor’s proposal. This means lawmakers could be faced with choices.  Governor Butch Otter laid [...]

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