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IDAHO

Idaho

State Recovery Act Website: http://www.accountability.idaho.gov/

Idaho's state Recovery Act website scored 20 out of 100 possible points (ranking a tied 28th) on Good Jobs First's 51-state study of state stimulus websites entitled Show Us the Stimulus. The state scored lower than average by neglecting to disclose any kind of geographic distribution of Recovery Act funds, how those funds were distributed with regard to economic distress indicators, or report any job creation data. Contractor information: none.

Idaho scored more points-53 out of 100 (ranking a tied 9th)-on its disclosure of information specifically about highway projects funded by the Recovery Act.  The state's transportation data score was boosted by its descriptions of ARRA highway projects and their cost, and by naming the contractor awarded each project and number of jobs the state expects will be generated by each project. Contractor information: here.

For detailed scoring information, see the Idaho appendix of Show Us the Stimulus.

Coordination & Oversight

The Idaho legislature will make decisions on how to appropriate the stimulus funds. Gov. Otter or the Board of Examiners has the authority to spend these funds if money comes in while the legislature is not in session. Otherwise, the governor can only recommend uses of the funds. There is a Stimulus Executive Committee that reviews proposals from both state agencies and the private sector. The committee is made up of three former governors and five former state budget directors.

Despite the limits on his authority, Gov. Otter took steps to remain central to the process. By executive order, he has required all state agencies to notify him directly of requests for stimulus funding or of funds received. Those individual requests, signed by agency officials, can be downloaded from the state's stimulus website, but no consolidated list of approved or recommended projects is available.

Idaho's Stimulus "Czar" is Wayne Hammon, Director of the Division of Financial Management. Prior to joining the Governor's staff, Hammon served over six years as Idaho State Executive Director for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency and spent over seven years in Washington, DC in a variety of positions.

Policy Debates

There has been a power struggle between the state legislature and Gov. Otter. The governor sought to use stimulus funds as political leverage to push through a project called Connecting Idaho that requires the sale of $125 million in bonds. He told the legislature that he would use stimulus money for this project if they did not approve the bond sales, killing ten other Idaho transportation projects. The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee has also been in disagreement with the governor over use of some of the funds, directing money towards an aquifer management plan rather than to additional highway work. Otter has also suggested that he will "save" $200 million in stimulus funds while simultaneously making cuts in education and reducing personnel costs by five percent.

The 2009 legislative session adjourned on May 8 with no plans to reconvene. Just before adjourning, the legislature passed HB 335, amending the state's unemployment insurance program to make the state eligible to receive ARRA unemployment insurance funds.

Last updated on: 14 October, 2009

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