Friday, February 29, 2008

Transportation funding fairness

In DFO’s Huckleberries Online, DFO occasionally takes a jab at funding for roads. His point seems to be that Kootenai County and North Idaho are subsidizing the Treasure valley. In a recent post on the subject, one on his commenters, “James Bond,” wisely suggested that

before we get into the north-south thing, I would really like to know a couple things:
1. What percentage of the state's revenue comes from the Treasure Valley?
2. What percentage of highway funds are spent in the Treasure Valley?

The Treasure Valley (Ada and Canyon County) account for about 35% of the state's population, so I would use this as a rough baseline, although business tax revenue might be different, not to mention differences in income.

At any rate, it always seems dangerous to go down this road. Someone in another thread suggested that "Boise" only get back what it pays. That might be a dangerous wish for the rest of the state.
Well, per the Fiscal Facts book published by the Legislative Services Office, here are the facts. (More census data here.)

2006 Population: Ada, 359,035; Canyon, 173,302; Kootenai, 131,507.
FY 2007 Highway Distributions: Ada, $21,095,292; Canyon, $10,923,563; Kootenai, $8,638,094.
FY 2007 Hwy Dist per capita: Ada, $58.75; Canyon, $63.03; KootCo, $65.58

(Contrast with Minidoka County, home of JAFC Chair Dean Cameron, gets $112.46 per capita.)

State population in 2006; 1,466,465. Ada is 24%, Canyon is 12% (together, 36%), KootCo is 9%. Ada and Canyon counties together get $32,018,855 of the $126,589,039 in highway distributions, or about 25%.

36% of the population, 25% of the money. So, yeah, great idea, let’s spend highway funds per capita. Le’see, 36% of the $126 mil is $45,572,054. The Treasure Valley would like a $13 million increase, please.

Or, how 'bout we slice the pie by question No. 1, percentage of state revenue? I don't have that, but the census data gives us sales data, which should help.

The census list four categories of sales data; manufacturer shipments, wholesale trade sales, retail sales, and accommodation and food service sales. Adding these, we get these totals:

State $41,826,831,000
Ada Cty $15,084,101,000 - 36% of state income (in the 4 areas)
Canyon $4,738,787,000 - 11%
KootCo $2,774,624,000 - 7%

Treasure valley - 47% of state income. 25% of road money.

Say what you will about the Treasure Valley, but one thing is clear. It is subsidizing the rest of the state, not the other way around.


Sisyphus said...

Excellent work Alan. Lets try and hook up tomorrow night. I have more info that might be helpful.

alan said...

I'll be at the blogger table, I guess. I'll be wearing a red rose and carrying a briefcase. No, wait, I saw that in a movie. I'll look for you. I'm working this weekend, so I won't exactly be the first guy to arrive.