Murray Hopes To Overhaul State Budgeting

By Sarah Birnbaum

Jun. 10, 2011

BOSTON —  A bill passed Thursday in the Senate would dramatically overhaul the state budgeting process — and Senate President Therese Murray hopes it will put government waste on notice. The bill, which she authored, includes a shakeup of the way lawmakers put the state budget together and would put performance reviews into wider practice throughout the state government.

The bill requires lawmakers to build a new state budget from scratch every four years. That's a contrast to the current practice of simply taking the previous year's budget and making program cuts or providing for growth. Critics say it would take a lot more time, but supporters say it will make it easier to spot waste and inefficiencies. 
Another provision in the bill would require all state agencies to undergo regular performance reviews. Agencies that fall short could be abolished.
Democrat Steven Baddour of Methuen told his Senate colleagues the measure is flying under the radar.

“This bill might not get all of the fanfare that others bill may get. It’s not the most exciting and most dramatic piece of legislation.  But in the end, it fundamentally reforms the way state government operates,” Baddour said.
Previous attempts to change budgeting practices have failed on Beacon Hill.  But Therese Murray is one of the most powerful lawmakers in state government, and observers say that her support of the legislation gives it a significant boost.

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