Governor Gregoire announced a new state budget process for the 2011-13 biennium. Her intention is to develop a new biennial budget with more transparency, community involvement, and expert outside advice.
The new budget process will assume zero-based budgeting from the beginning. Zero-based budgeting focuses on reviewing the current and alternative funding levels for each agency activity (including zero).
In addition, each agency will be asked eight critical questions before their budgets are increased or shuffled. These eight questions are:
- Is the activity an essential service?
- Does state government have to perform the activity or can it be provided by others?
- Can the activity be eliminated or delayed in recessionary times?
- Does the activity need to be paid for with state general funds? Should users pay a portion of the costs?
- Are there federal funds or other fund sources available to support this activity?
- Are there more cost-effective, efficient ways to do the activity?
- Can the activity be the subject of a performance contract?
- Can the activity be the subject of a performance incentive?
The process will include a public component involving the opportunity for citizens to submit suggestions and a statewide tour to share the new budgeting process.
Finally, the Governor has asked leaders from across the state in a variety of fields to serve on the Governor’s Committee on Transforming Washington’s Budget. This panel will serve in an advisory capacity to the Governor during the budget development process. The charge of the committee is to quest budget assumptions, serve as a sounding board, and lend guidance.
The Governor also issued a time-line for the development of the 2011-13 budget. It is expected that as other dates and locations for budget hearings across the state are confirmed they will be announced.
- Spring 2010 Committee on Transforming the Budget formed
- July 19, 2010 First Budget hearing (Tacoma)
- Early September 2010 Agency budget requests due
- September 16, 2010 Updated revenue forecast adopted
- November 18, 2010 Update revenue forecast adopted
- Mid-December 2010 Governor’s proposed 2011-13 budget released
- January 10, 2011 2011 Legislative Session begins