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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: February 13, 2019 11:35 AM
From: Representative James B. Struzzi, II
To: All House members
Subject: Budget Procedures Reform - Ensuring a balanced budget amid revenue shortfalls
In the near future, I will be introducing legislation on Budget Procedures Reform - Ensuring a Balanced Budget Amid Revenue Shortfalls. This legislation was HB 1942 of the 2017-2018 Session year. As leaders of the Commonwealth we must demonstrate fiscal responsibility to our constituents.

Over the past fiscal years, it has become obvious that the statutory provisions that govern the Commonwealth’s budget process and guide the executive branch’s management of the budget, once it’s enacted, need repaired. To that end, I am asking you to join me as a cosponsor to repair one of these areas, ensuring a balanced budget amid a fiscal year with revenue shortfalls.

As the 2016-2017 fiscal year progressed, revenue collections lagged behind the official revenue estimate to the point where the Commonwealth ended the fiscal year more than $1.5 billion in a deficit situation. It is irresponsible to allow that to happen. To avoid a repeat of this situation, beginning in December of a fiscal year, the Budget Secretary would be required to estimate the amount, if any, that revenues for the fiscal year will fall short of the official estimate, and will be required to place that amount in budgetary reserve. Following the IFO mid-year revenue conference, the Budget Secretary’s estimate will be revised each month, and the amounts in budget reserve will be adjusted according to each month’s revised estimate.

We cannot continue to spend what we do not have. Many of our constituents live paycheck to paycheck. When their budgets are tight, they wisely don’t continue to spend beyond their means; instead focusing on essentials until revenues increase. In your own personal finances, you would not spend beyond your means. We should set an example for them by demonstrating fiscal responsibility with tax payer dollars and not continuing to dig a deficit hole. This will build confidence in our state that we, as state leaders, are making wise decisions building for the future.

Introduced as HB855