Thank you to those who attended our Bills and Bagels meeting last Saturday. Our attendance was approximately 125 members of the public and 7 legislators including: Senators Deidre Henderson and David Hinkins, and Representatives Dean Sanpei, Francis Gibson, Marc Roberts, Norm Thurston, and Mike McKell. We hope to see you on February 28th when we meet again at the Nebo School District Board room in Spanish Fork for another town hall meeting.
During the first few weeks of the legislative session, our House members have spent each morning in appropriations subcommittees designing base budgets. These budgets act as a backstop if no final agreement is reached between the House and Senate during the legislative session, which this year ends at midnight on March 12. As the chair of an appropriation committee, I have spent the last two weeks working on my base budget for my appropriation subcommittee.
The base budget is based on the current fiscal year’s budget, with one-time funding removed.
This year, all appropriations subcommittees have been asked to design their base budget at 98 percent of the current allocation, as part of a budget effectiveness review. Through this exercise, each department has been charged with looking for inefficiencies, as well as determining departmental priorities in the case of declining state revenue. This exercise has brought light to sever inefficiencies in my appropriation subcommittee.
Though there is no concern this year, and budget surpluses are projected while departmental cuts are not, this process has allowed committee members to evaluate current funding, gain insights into potential areas of savings and determine how to more efficiently utilize state funds.
Once this task is complete, appropriation subcommittee members will start the work of building a new budget and working with the Senate to finalize it over the next month.
We’ve also spent this week hearing and debating bills in committee, as well as on the House floor. We’re making good progress and look forward to hearing your comments and concerns over the course of this 2015 General Legislative Session.
Last week, I sent out an email with a survey addressing many issues before the legislature. If you have not completed the online survey, please consider doing so using the link below.
Thank you for the great privilege of representing House District 66. I look forward to a great session. If you have any questions during the legislative session, please feel free to contact me any time. I can be reached on my cell phone at (801) 836-7597. If for any reason you are unable to contact me during the legislative session, my intern Matthew Hodgson can be reached at (916) 412-7661 or firstname.lastname@example.org.