Bro­ken bud­get process

The Times-Tribune - - Editorial -

The amend­ment is yet an­other in­dict­ment of the state’s bro­ken bud­get process.

By fail­ing to pass the bud­get by July 1, the be­gin­ning of the fis­cal year, law­mak­ers man­u­fac­ture a cri­sis for state agen­cies, lo­cal govern­ments, school dis­tricts, state and state-re­lated uni­ver­si­ties and in­nu­mer­able in­sti­tu­tions with pub­lic mis­sions. That, in turn, cre­ates po­lit­i­cal pres­sure to pass a late bud­get, en­abling chi­canery such as the Mount Airy amend­ment. In a de­lib­er­ate bud­get process with true dead­lines, such an amend­ment would re­ceive scru­tiny from the me­dia and de­bate within the Leg­is­la­ture, rather than be­ing slapped, at the last mo­ment, onto a bud­get bill that must pass. It is gov­ern­ment at its worst.

At the very least, the Leg­is­la­ture should re­quire mem­bers to be ac­count­able for the amend­ments they in­tro­duce. That alone would de­ter such special-in­ter­est chi­canery, which is in­de­fen­si­ble on pol­icy grounds.

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