FISCAL POLICY: Action to increase the budgetary authority of the legislature and to achieve a more effective budget process. (1977, 2004)
BUDGET PROCESS (1977, 2004)
- Increasing the budgetary authority of the legislature to achieve a more effective budget process.
- The following characteristics as important to Maryland’s operating budget process:
- a. Transparency: A budget process that is clear and readily understood.
- b. Public Access: Opportunity for substantive public input during the entire budget process, including the formulation, enactment and implementation phases.
- c. Reliable, current and objective information.
- d. Accountability: A systematic review process of expenditures, programs and services to determine their impact, efficiency and sustainability.
- e. Sufficient time to deliberate.
- f. Flexibility: The ability to adjust to changing needs.
- g. Balanced budget requirement.
The focus changed in 1977 to the state budget process when members reviewed the dominant role played by the Governor and the oversight (rather than the policy-making) role of the General Assembly. The League also focused at that time on how funds were distributed. Earlier, the League had considered granting broader powers to localities, sharing state taxes, increasing state grants, decreasing the local property tax burden and other aspects of the state/local fiscal relationships. The League broadened (in 1967) its support for state grants for health, education and welfare, to (for example) grants for pollution control and urban renewal. By 1977 the relationship between state and local governments was increasingly complex, prompting members to advocate simplification and specific criteria for methods of distributing state funds and services, with careful monitoring by the legislature. Then, as now, the Governor’s budget can only be decreased by the legislature.
In 2004, the League adopted characteristics important for the operating budget.