Public Assets Institute > Policy Areas > Vermont Budget > More daylight in the state budget

More daylight in the state budget

On January 24, Gov. Peter Shumlin will make public his proposed fiscal 2014 budget in an address to the Legislature.

Many things are sure to be familiar: the ceremony of the joint session of the House and Senate, the governor explaining his plan to address the projected $50 million to $75 million deficit without raising new revenue, comments in the press from legislative leaders and others.

One thing that probably will not be noticed: For the first time the governor will also publish a current services budget.

The governor’s proposed budget will tell Vermonters what he is willing to spend in fiscal 2014. The current services budget will tell us what the state needs to spend to provide the same services that it’s providing now.

As part of its fiscal 2013 budget bill, the Legislature required the administration to publish an annual current services budget.  It was part of a broader effort to reconnect Vermonters and their needs to the state budget process, an approach promoted by the Vermont Workers’ Center’s People’s Budget campaign.

Without the current services budget, we have no idea whether the governor’s budget would cut or increase services. The number of Vermonters needing state services changes each year. If the caseload goes up, the budget needs to increase to provide the same services to more people.  If the caseload goes down, the budget can decrease.

The cost of providing services can also rise or fall from year to year.

What Vermonters need to know from the governor is whether his plan has enough money in it to deliver the state services they have come to expect. For the first time they will have a way to find out.

Posted by Paul Cillo on December 31, 2012 at 7:21 pm

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