Third of several hearings focuses on budget process and oversight of state agencies
December 8, 2009 (Los Angeles) – Today, the Senate and Assembly select committees on Improving State Government held the third in a series of joint hearings. Senate Chair Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) and Assembly Chair Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles) led the discussion on budget process reforms and legislative oversight of state agencies.
“Our economic crisis compels us to transform California's budget process, prioritize our core services and squeeze every ounce of efficiency from scarce tax dollars,” said Feuer. “We are drawing on the best ideas from throughout the nation to make California’s government more effective and transparent.”
“This fiscal crisis is forcing California to acknowledge the systemic weaknesses in the budget process,” said DeSaulnier. “An LAO report released last month indicates that California’s budget problems could persist into the next decade. We can’t put off dealing with the real issues for that long. Come January, this committee will recommend legislative changes to address the state’s persistent budget problems discussed here today.”
Panelists included State Auditor Elaine Howle, Stimulus Funds Inspector General and former Los Angeles Controller Laura Chick, Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor, the director of California's Little Hoover Commission, a senior representative of the state Treasurer, a national strategic consultant on budget reform and innovation, and representatives of leading business and labor groups.
The committees considered several budget reform proposals, including performance-based budgeting, a two-year budget cycle, and longer-term fiscal planning. The committee also vetted best practices of other states to improve oversight and responsiveness of state agencies. Some of these included modeling agencies after Iowa’s successful “charter agencies” plan and establishing a sunset review commission similar to the model in Texas.
The bipartisan committees are addressing the pressing need for state governmental reform and evaluate major reform proposals. To accomplish this ambitious effort, the committees are jointly hosting five hearings at various locations throughout the state, taking on topics including ballot box budgeting and initiative process reforms, legislative oversight of state government agencies, and relationships between state and local governments. The committees’ work will culminate with the introduction of reform legislation when the Legislature reconvenes in January.
The next hearing will focus on the relationships and responsibilities of state and local governments. It will be held at the State Capitol in Sacramento on Tuesday, Dec. 15. To learn more about the Committees’ work or submit comments on ways to improve the way state government works, please visit the committees’ website.
Senator DeSaulnier’s website: http://dist07.casen.govoffice.com/
Assembly member Feuer’s website: http://www.assembly.ca.gov/feuer