Treasurer Converse Chellis is beginning a five-month study on the implementation of zero-based budgeting for all state departments and agencies, as put forth by the General Assembly during its last session.
Scott Malyerck with the treasurer’s office describes zero-based budgeting as a method of budgeting in which all expenses must be justified for each new period. Zero-based budgeting starts from a “zero base” and every function within an organization is analyzed for its needs and costs. Budgets are then built around what is needed for the upcoming period, regardless of whether the budget is higher or lower than the previous one.
Chellis has been a proponent of zero-based budgeting and believes, if implemented correctly, it will cut down on inefficiency and waste in government.
The Treasurer’s Office will examine how other states have implemented zero-based budgeting and also meet with state agency heads and fiscal officers at institutions of higher learning.
Chellis has been a supporter of the zero-based concept for years, but he says he really doesn’t have any preconceptions on what the study will produce. Chellis says he wants an objective study. At the same time, he says he hopes to save the state millions of dollars.
It’s time to hold every agency in state government accountable for every dollar it spends. With the implementation of zero-based budgeting, agencies and departments will have to justify every tax dollar they spend each and every year. We’ve seen how agencies have incrementally increased their budgets. Zero-based budgeting will require justification of every dollar that is spent. During these remarkably tough economic times, having government examine and explain how it spends money each and every year is just common sense.
The Treasurer will make his recommendation on whether to implement zero-based budgeting to state lawmakers before the beginning of its 2011 session.