JFAC: Background and History
February 20, 2019

JFAC was created in 1967 when the Legislature merged the House Appropriations and Senate Finance Committees. It is unique in state governments; to the best of my knowledge, it is the only one of its kind in the 50 states. The two committees, each consisting of nine members and a chairman, meet every morning at 8:00, although sometimes as early as 7:00. The first three or four weeks in JFAC are opportunities to hear the budget requests from the numerous state agencies. Once they have heard the requests and compared them to the governor’s recommendations, they will begin assigning budgets to members of the joint committee. This will provide an in-depth analysis of each budget and ensure members are well prepared to introduce the appropriation budget in the House or Senate. Unlike budgets that most of us are familiar with, the state budget is the sum of around 110 separate pieces of legislation, which comprises the total authorized spending within each fiscal year. The revenue side represents the best estimates of the governor, the Economic Outlook and Revenue Assessment Committee, and JFAC. The sum of all the appropriation bills must not exceed the revenue estimate. The Idaho Constitution requires a balanced budget, so this is how we follow the mandate.