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.
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
- 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.
- 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.
- Our process is Program-based in that all budget information is structured by program with emphasis on goals and objectives by function.
- 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.
- 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.