Combing through the House budget proposal, I ran across an amendment tucked away on pg. 227 that came as a pleasant surprise:
3 SECTION 22.1.(a) The General Assembly finds that the traditional method of
4 budgeting may no longer be sufficient to manage the competing demands of North Carolina's
5 complex budget, its rapidly expanding education and health care expenditures, and the need to
6 foster economic development. To meet the State's growing needs, it is necessary to examine
7 new approaches to budgeting and management.
8 SECTION 22.1.(b) The Director of the Budget shall subject every program in
9 State government to zero-based budget review no less often than once every six years.
Among a sea of job-killing tax hikes and questionable spending priorities, a commitment to a zero-based budgeting process was a welcome sight. It is also something I advocated for more than a year ago in the Civitas Blueprint series:
the continuation budget on cruise control, the state should adopt a
rotating zero-based budgeting process that re-evaluates programs and
expenditures on a regular basis. Under this reform, each state agency
budget would return to “zero-based” status on a rotating basis –
perhaps every sixth year. Evaluating the continuation budget is a
much-needed process that has been neglected for too long.
Now let's see if the conference committee has the courage to include this in their final budget proposal. Color me skeptical.