Monday, June 13, 2011
Last Thursday the Senate unanimously adopted an amendment I developed and filed to cause Massachusetts to move to a system of zero-based budgeting by a vote of 38-0. The amendment was incorporated into a larger bill to reform the fiscal management of our state, "An Act to Improve the Administration of State Government Finance".
Zero-based budgeting will transform the way our state spends its resources from an antiquated system based on the past to an innovative system which responds to priorities, requires performance and results, and causes every dollar spent to be justified. I offered the amendment along with Senators Robert Hedlund (R-Weymouth), Michael Knapik (R-Westfield) and Richard Ross (R-Wrentham).
Under the Senate proposal, the Governor would be required to file a zero-based budget every four years, starting with the fiscal year that begins on July 1, 2016. Rather than developing a budget that expands on the previous year’s funding levels, the zero-based budget would formulate a spending plan for every state department and state agency without regard to their prior appropriations.
When filing the zero-based budget, the Governor will be required to include a brief description of the tasks and goals for each agency or department, along with a performance benchmark measure. This information will be included in the actual budget document and made available electronically on the official website of the Commonwealth.
The bill now heads to the House of Representatives for further action. To read the actual text of the bill please click here.