The administration proposes the addition of a new control section to the 2008–09 Budget Bill. Control Section 4.44 delineates $9.1 billion in General Fund reductions proposed by the administration. Under the section, the administration would have the authority to reduce each department’s appropriation by the listed amount.
To increase transparency of the budget, we recommend that the Legislature delete Control Section 4.44 and integrate any budget reductions that are adopted into specific departmental appropriations. (Delete Control Section 4.44.)
We understand that the administration’s Control Section 4.44 proposal was driven largely by workload concerns as the Department of Finance prepared the budget documents prior to their release. By listing all of the reductions in a single control section, the administration avoided having to amend hundreds of lines in the budget bill. Yet, the approach makes the state budget more perplexing to the public than necessary. If an individual opens the proposed budget bill to a particular department (without knowing about the existence of Control Section 4.44), he or she would mistakenly assume that the amounts shown were the intended funding levels. Accurately reading the budget bill under the administration’s approach requires looking at a departmental appropriation in conjunction with Control Section 4.44. To increase budget transparency, we recommend that the Legislature delete Control Section 4.44 and integrate any budget reductions that are adopted into specific departmental appropriations.
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