Thursday, January 24, 2008

Giving The Governor A Year To Write Budget

One House bill and one Senate bill would enable a newly-elected Governor to take a year to put up his first budget proposal.

They are both constitutional amendments which would make odd-numbered year General Assembly sessions the ones in which we pass biennial budgets. Both bills strive to limit spending and revenue increasing bills, but the House bill does a much better job.

The Senate bill requires a three-fifths vote in both chambers to raise revenue or appropriate funds in non-budget years. The General Assembly almost always passes all these bills by very comfortable margins, often unanimously. So really, SB 105 goes to the trouble of changing the Constitution only to give a new Governor a full year before he has to present a budget proposal and to give that new Governor expanded powers to set the legislative agenda.

The House bill is much better. It cuts the 60-day sessions down to thirty days and prohibits appropriation and revenue bills from being passed in the even-numbered years.