Committee to Reduce Government Waste & Nonessential Expenditures

Committee to Reduce Government Waste & Nonessential Expenditures

Summary

As a way to pay for World War II without raising taxes, the Joint Committee on Reduction of Nonessential Federal Expenditures was created at the federal level in 1941. The committee was proposed by Sen. Harry F. Byrd (D., Va.) and worked like an anti-appropriations committee. During the postwar years, the committee saved the equivalent of $38 billion in today’s dollars. It was because of the committee that the Civilian Conservation Corps was eliminated and the Work Progress Administration was scaled back.

The state of {insert state} believes that a similar standing committee at the state level would be useful in reining in unsustainable state spending. This Act creates such a committee at the state level tasked with identifying ineffective or duplicative programs and other instances unnecessary and wasteful state spending. Recommendations that receive majority support of the committee are guaranteed and up or down vote by the legislature.

Model Policy

Section 1 {Commission created; purpose; composition; compensation and expenses; office space}

There is hereby created the Joint Commission on Reduction of Nonessential State Expenditures in the legislative branch of state government. The purpose of the Commission is to review the operations of state agencies and state-funded programs with a view toward the reduction of nonessential programs and expenditures. The Commission shall consist of nine members of the House of Representatives appointed by the Speaker thereof, of whom at least five shall be members of the House Appropriations Committee, and five members from the Senate appointed by the [insert legislative Senate leader], of whom at least two shall be members of the Finance Committee, and the State Auditor, ex officio, who shall have no vote. Members of the Commission shall serve terms coincident with their terms of office. Members of the Commission shall receive compensation as provided in [insert relevant state code] including their necessary expenses incident to their work upon the Commission. Adequate office space shall be provided by the state/commonwealth.

Section 2 {Director, executive staff and personnel} 

The Commission shall appoint, subject to confirmation by a majority of the members of the legislature, a Director and fix his duties and compensation. The Director may with prior approval of the Commission employ and fix the duties and compensation of an adequate executive staff as may be requisite to make the studies and research and budget analyses required by this chapter. The Director and the executive staff shall be appointed for a term of six years and shall consist of professional persons having experience and training in legislative budgetary procedures, management analyses and cost accounting. The Director and any executive staff member may be removed from office for cause by a majority vote of the Commission. Such other professional personnel, consultants and secretarial and clerical employees may be engaged upon such terms and conditions as set forth by the Commission.

Section 3 {Powers and duties of Commission}

The Commission shall have the following powers and duties:

1. Review operations of state agencies and state-funded programs to evaluate whether such programs are essential to the operation of state government;

2. Study on a continuing basis the operations of state agencies and state-funded programs, as they relate to the performance of essential state government functions;

3. Make such special studies and reports of the operations and functions of state agencies as it deems appropriate and as may be requested by the Legislature;

4. Upon a majority vote of the Commission, make such special studies and reports of the operations and functions of state agencies as may be requested by any member of the Legislature; and

5. Make such reports on its findings and recommendations at such time and in such manner as the Commission deems proper submitting same to the agencies concerned, to the Governor and to the House and Senate. Such reports as are submitted shall relate to areas in which functions of state agencies are duplicative, overlapping, or for any other reason should be redefined or redistributed.

Section 4 {Supplementary studies and reports}

The Commission shall prepare supplementary studies and reports of the program reviews and evaluations called for in Section 3 in the following manner:

1. At least once in each biennium and at such other times as the Commission deems necessary, a report shall be made to the Legislature that includes: (i) annotations of reports previously issued; (ii) a summary of significant actions taken by executive agencies in response to reports and recommendations previously issued; and (iii) matters pertaining to the report topics that may require additional legislative attention and consideration.

2. From time to time, agencies involved in matters that have been studied under the provisions of section 3 may be required to communicate to the Commission at a hearing called for such purpose or in writing, the status of actions completed or being taken in response to reports and recommendations previously issued.

3. In the event a report of the Commission cites waste, extravagance, unauthorized activities, or other significant deficiencies that result in the use of public funds for nonessential programs, a supplementary report shall be made at such time as the Commission deems appropriate, which provides the Legislature: (i) a review of the problem; (ii) recommendations made by the Commission or other legislative committee to correct the problem; (iii) actions taken or planned by the agency to correct the problem; and (iv) such other matters as may require additional legislative attention to correct the problem.

Supplementary reports published by the Commission shall be issued to the Governor, agencies concerned, and members of the Legislature.

Section 5 {Annual report on state spending}

A. No later than [Insert Date] of each year, the Commission shall provide to the Governor and the Legislature an annual report on its identification of nonessential programs that shall include, among other things, (i) an identification and analysis of spending functions and programs that could be consolidated with other programs without diminishing the quality of the services provided to the citizens of the State of [insert State]; (ii) an identification and analysis of those spending functions or programs which no longer have a distinct and discernible mission; and (iii) such other related issues as it deems appropriate.

B. All agencies of the state/commonwealth shall provide assistance to the Commission in the preparation of this report, upon request.

Section 6 {State agencies to furnish information and assistance}

All agencies of the state/commonwealth, their staff, and employees shall provide the Commission with necessary information for the performance of its duties, and to afford the Commission’s staff ample opportunity to observe agency operations.

Section 7 {State agency defined}

For the purposes of this legislation, the terms “state agency,” “state agencies,” “agency,” and “agencies” means all executive, judicial, and legislative entities of the state/commonwealth as well as all constitutionally or statutorily created state entities.

Section 8 {State Auditor to render assistance upon request; his relationship to Commission}

The Commission may request and receive the assistance of the staff of the State Auditor in making desired special studies and fiscal reviews within the manpower limitations of his office. The Commission may serve as an advisory and contact agency for the State Auditor to make such special reports as he may be required by law to submit to the Legislature.

Section 9 {Advisory committees}

The Commission may associate with itself such advisory committees of businessmen and others as it may deem necessary to advise it. The expenses of the members of such committees shall be paid from the funds of the Commission.

Section 10 {Legislative consideration of Commission recommendations}

The Commission’s annual report identifies spending functions and programs that could be consolidated with other programs without diminishing the quality of the services provided to the citizens of the state/commonwealth. The annual report also identifies spending functions or programs which no longer have a distinct and discernible mission. The annual report’s recommendations are to be guaranteed an up or down vote by the Legislature within 12 months of publication of the annual report.

Section 11 {Severability Clause}

Section 12 {Repealer Clause}

Section 13 {Effective Date}

 

Adopted by the Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force at the Spring Task Force Summit May 3, 2013.

Approved by the ALEC Board of Directors, August 5, 2013.

 

Keyword Tags: Accountability, Budget, Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force, Transparency

Task Forces