The House Appropriations Sub-Committee on Technology Oversight and Government Activities released only a few hours ago its first meeting agenda — and the meeting is tomorrow morning! Why is this significant? Bills dealing with budget reform are difficult to get through the General Assembly. Here’s our chance!
These are the two bills: HB 1681, patroned by Republican Delegates Dickie Bell, Ben Cline and Mark Cole, that would put Virginia make Virginia budget writers appropriate on a zero-based principle. Currently, if an agency has a budget of $10 million one budget cycle, it starts off the next budget cycle at $10 million. This makes reducing government difficult. If, however, an agency must prove, via its performance, what budget it deserves, efficiencies and a smaller government can be realized.
The second bill is HB 1869, patroned by Delegate David Toscano, a Charlottesville Democrat. It would provide that the House and Senate Budget conference committee could not include in its budget, which is what both chambers vote on during each session’s final day, items to a non-state agency, not introduced as legislation, nor not included in either chamber’s version of the budget unless the chairmen of the money committees notify, via letter, all 140 members of the legislature and post it on the committees’ Web sites. This is vital! So much of the final budget is a mystery and lawmakers only have a few hours to digest all $70 billion in the document. Last year, this bill was not even heard in committee.
This is no way to run the country’s best managed state. Contact members of the sub-committee! Here is the sub-committee list with links to their contact information.