Cost Cutting Caucus Kicks-off Session
In addition to several of the contributors here at the VACostCutting Blog (Saxman, Geoff Segal, and our team from AFPVA), more than a dozen legislators or representatives from their staff attended. The bipartisan group included several of the newly elected delegates, plus a number of executives from state agencies, as well as representatives from Attorney General-elect Bob McDonnell’s office and Speaker Bill Howell’s Virginia Reform Initiative.
The Caucus received a presentation from Bill Leighty, Chief of Staff to both outgoing Governor Mark Warner and Governor-elect Tim Kaine, focusing on changes that have been initiated over the past few years.
The focus of Mr. Leighty’s talk with was the new budget framework that Delegate Saxman discussed in his first post.
This is a key issue for the Caucus and for the taxpayers. The state budget has previously been what can only be described as an unreadable mess. Information was virtually unusable for legislators trying to prepare the budget, let alone for the average taxpayer trying to see where their money was being spent.
The short version is that we’ve made a lot of progress. Thanks to consistent constructive pressure from the Caucus, as publicly acknowledged by Mr. Leighty, the new budget—while not perfect—is significantly improved, including far more detail regarding exactly where and how money is being spent, as well as listing specific performance measures for state agencies and programs. There is still much work to be done, and the Caucus is ready to continue pushing for further reform and further. In order to have the accountability we should expect from our state government, we must first have transparency.
So, to re-iterate what Delegate Saxman said earlier, take a look at the new budget. Check out areas of interest to you, and share your thoughts. What changes would you make to make the document even more user-friendly?