Bringing the Economy Home

Taking Stock Of The Downturn’s Effect On State Education And Medicaid Spending

A National Association of State Budget Officers report shows states are spending a greater share of their general fund dollars on Medicaid, and a smaller share on education.  The Washington Post‘s Wonkblog has summarized and graphed the findings.

In Idaho, total general fund spending on education has fallen by 11.6 percent since fiscal year 2009, while spending in the health and human services category has grown by 5.8 percent.

A more detailed look at state spending shows that public school support has fallen by 9.8 percent since 2009, while spending on medical assistance services (which includes Medicaid) has grown by nearly 18 percent.

State spending on Medicaid decreased in the years just after the financial crisis because the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act temporarily boosted the federal match rate, lowering state expenditures.  The state has since had to resume paying about 30 percent of the Idaho Medicaid program’s payments to providers.

Education is not the only spending category that has experienced a decrease in its general fund allocation since the start of the recession.  In fact, the health and human services category is the only top spending category that has not seen a net cut in appropriated general funds since 2009.

In 2013, the Legislature appropriated $1.64 billion in general fund dollars for education.  Total health and human services spending came to just under $655 million.


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