Auditors flag subsidy to Idaho occupational licensing boards

The Athletic Commission is $178,000 in the red, the most debt-ridden of 10 boards.

dpopkey@idahostatesman.comSeptember 17, 2013 

The agency providing administrative services to 29 boards regulating occupations from chiropractors and landscape architects to midwives and morticians is using fees collected by financially stable boards to shore up 10 boards with a negative cash balance totaling $622,000.

A Sept. 12 report on the Idaho Bureau of Occupational Licenses says budgets should be balanced and subsidies ended. If that's not possible, regulators should ask the Legislature for one-time fees or general fund money, auditors said. The boards are funded by fees from those they regulate.

"The boards with positive cash balances have not been given the legislative authority to spend their revenue beyond statutory obligations and normal operating expenses," write auditors Lori Hendon and Jolene Crumley.

Bureau Chief Tana Cory, who oversees what also are called "self-governing agencies," says the fund shifts are necessary.

"Simply stated, the current approach of using one account and one appropriation provides boards with a continuity of operations in carrying out their mandate to protect the public while ensuring stability in fees for licensees," Cory wrote in response to the audit.

Cory also noted that lawmakers have historically intended that the agencies support themselves and not use general fund dollars. The bureau was created in 1974.

Auditors found no other problems in the management review covering four fiscal years ending June 30, 2012.

The fund in the deepest trouble is the Athletic Commission, with a negative balance of about $178,000. The commission regulates professional boxing, wrestling and mixed martial arts, including cage fighting.

Dan Popkey: 377-6438, Twitter: @IDS_politics

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