New Senate Budget Reform Plan Lines Out Every Dollar

Thomas P. Morahan

December 15, 2006

New York State Senator Thomas Morahanannounced the introduction of legislation in the Senate that would line out in the State budget every dollar to be spent by the Governor, Legislature, Judiciary and all State agencies and authorities. The Senate’s reform bill would eliminate the practice of including lump sum appropriations in the budget for spending by the Governor, the Legislature, the Judiciary, and by every State agency and public authority.

"The Senate plan is about openness, transparency and accountability in government and would ensure that every dollar in state spending would be accounted for and lined out clearly for public review," said Senator Morahan. "The Senate’s budget reform plan would take effect with the 2007-08 State budget."

Over the past ten years, the State Division of the Budget has moved more and more funding away from line items and into lump sum appropriations, which allows for complete flexibility and discretion in spending the funds and limits oversight of the spending. The Division of the Budget already lines out State spending in its internal documents, but does not include that information as part of the State budget that is enacted into law.

The State budget includes billions of dollars in lump sums in agency spending, submitted by the Governor, that target areas such as environment, education, higher education, health care, human services, public protection, capital projects and economic development.

The Senate plan would build on the Senate’s record of reform that includes initiating the first public legislative expenditure reports that detail every penny spent by the Legislature, as well as initiating the first joint, public legislative conference committees to resolve differences on legislation and on the budget. In addition, information regarding State grants for community projects for the past four years are posted on the Senate web site.