The following is from a Rhode Island General Assembly House Minority Office press release.
State House – Representative Daniel P. Reilly (R-Dist. 72, Middletown, Newport, Portsmouth) has introduced legislation to reform the state budget process. His “zero based budgeting” proposal would reset each budget line item to zero each year. This would require each agency and department to justify every dollar spent as opposed to the current process where last year’s funding level serves as the baseline for future spending.
“The way in which funding for departments and agencies is currently determined promotes inefficiency and inhibits spending reductions,” said Rep. Reilly. “Moving away from this model where increases in spending are assumed and embracing a model where each dollar spent is subjected to an appropriate level of scrutiny and debate will ensure that our government is providing the best services at the lowest possible cost.”
This legislation would be phased in over a period of five years beginning with state departments having the smallest budgets. This would mitigate any potential disruption in the administration of those departments and the services they provide.
This legislation has been referred to the House Finance Committee. The full text is available at http://www.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText12/HouseText12/H7076.pdf.