It is now up to members of the California Assembly to decide whether two of California Forward’s important fiscal reforms will move forward.
Today, the Assembly Budget Committee approved SB 14 (performance-based budgeting) and SB 15 (multi-year fiscal forecasting), which will bring a new budgeting system to California that increases stability, focuses on program results and looks to the future.
Assemblyman and budget committee chair Bob Blumenfield co-authored these bills, after several months of hearings on reforming the state budget process. Each represents an important element in California Forward’s continuing efforts to improve budgeting in California. We appreciated Mr. Blumenfield’s personal involvement. He is clearly committed to making program performance a priority. We were also pleased to see the bipartisan cooperation among committee members, who voted unanimously to approve SB 14.
Authored by Senator Lois Wolk with extensive bipartisan co-authorship, SB 14 would require performance measures to be integrated into the budget. This means programs will be evaluated based on whether they are accomplishing what they were ostensibly designed to do. To do this, the Department of Finance will develop evaluation criteria. Then, starting in 2013-14, the budget will include performance information on select departments. Full implementation will happen in 2018-19.
SB 15, authored by Senator Mark Desaulnier, would budget not only for the upcoming year, but require revenue and expenditure estimates for four additional years. This will give the legislature and the public a better understanding of proposed fiscal commitments and their implications.
During the hearing, supporters testified about SB 14 and 15’s “impressive list of bipartisan coauthors,” as well as California Forward’s multiyear effort to work with members on both sides of the aisle to advance the conversation.
Several other organizations testified in support of SB 14 – including the California State Student Association, SEIU 1000, Silicon Valley Leadership Group, State Building & Trades Association and the California Grocers Association.
Both bills will now be sent to the Assembly floor for possible action next week, and then on to the Senate for approval of Assembly amendments. If all goes well, SB 14 and SB 15 should be on their way to the Governor in early September.
Fred Silva is a Senior Fiscal Policy Advisor at California Forward