Sen. Robert Pittenger (R-Mecklenburg) introduces zero-based budgeting legislation

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This is great… if it passes. Put the State agencies on a short spending leash. Get’s the Government working more like a small business (at least).

“Raleigh – Sen. Robert Pittenger (R-Mecklenburg) introduced zero-based budgeting legislation, Wednesday, to bring greater accountability to government agencies and reduce wasteful spending.

Senate Bill 325 would be phase in a zero-based budget for North Carolina in five years, beginning in 2007 and would not apply to direct services in education such as class size, school curriculum, and counseling services.

Using North Carolina’s present budgeting practice, all departments of state government begin the coming year’s authorization process with a amount of money based on the amount allocated in previous years. ‘Zero-Based Budgeting’ requires such agencies to account for all expenditures and requests for new spending starting from zero every time the General Assembly creates a new budget.

The legislation introduced by Pittenger would require quantifying the needs of government agencies on a regular basis. Many believe this would help identify programs that are not working and increase efficiencies.

North Carolina faces a $1.3 Billion budget deficit, and Gov. Easley proposed late last month another increase in taxes, a fourth consecutive year of tax increases.

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The General Assembly’s Fiscal Research Department stated in a recent Appropriations meeting these deficits would continue unless ‘structural budget problems’ are addressed.

‘North Carolina is in a fiscal crisis,’ said Pittenger. ‘Other states such as Texas, Florida, Massachusetts, Illinois and Pennsylvania have implemented similar cost-saving reforms to streamline government operations.

‘Texas saved over $13 Billion in the past decade, while Massachusetts has moved from a $3 Billion deficit to a $700 Million surplus, and it’s time for North Carolina to take similar actions.’

“We can’t continue straightening pictures when the house is burning down. a full restructuring of State government is has not been done in over thirty years and is badly needed.”

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