The budget set this morning for the state Department of Administration shows a startling 66.1 percent increase in state general funds, jumping from $4.5 million this year to $7.5 million next year. But that’s largely because of a series of large one-time expenditures to address computer network security, replacement of routers and network infrastructure and a 2004-vintage email system. JFAC Co-Chair Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, asked department Director Teresa Luna, “There was a concern that we would not see that level of increase … in the future.” Luna responded, “That is our intention. We do believe this is a one-time thing. We had put off a lot of these expenditures due to the economy, knowing that they were coming down the pike. … We got to a point where it was just critical.” She said, “We don’t expect you’ll see these types of requests in the future.”
The budget boost for Admin also includes two positions, both of which were recommended by the governor; they’re for a purchasing officer and a postal coordinator; and a $1 million increase in funding for the Idaho Education Network,bringing its total ongoing funding to $3 million. The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee approved the budget motion prepared by Reps. Darrell Bolz and Jeff Thompson and Sens. Roy Lacey and Steven Thayn, on a unanimous, 19-0 vote. The budget matches the governor’s recommendation, with slight downward adjustments and with the caveat that the large computer expenditures will be one-time only. Dedicated funds for the department show a small decrease, so total funds for Admin next year reflect a 12.4 percent increase.