Wilk introduces bill aiming to turn annual budget process to biennial one

State Sen. Scott Wilk (pictured) and other local legislators reconvened Monday for a second year of their two-year session in Sacramento. Courtesy of Scott Wilk
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In an effort to produce a more efficient and effective legislative budget process, state Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, recently introduced the “Better Budgeting for a Better Future Act.” 

Senate Constitutional Amendment 9 aims to do just that by instituting a two-year budget cycle as current law requires that California operate on an annual budget. 

More closely, the first year of two of each legislative session would focus on the budget process and the second year would be devoted to assessment, oversight and evaluation of government agencies and spending. 

“Annual budgeting is inefficient, eating up more than half of the year and leaving very little time to determine if the programs we have previously funded even work,” said Wilk in a statement. “A two-year cycle would give everyone time to reassess how our tax dollars are spent before the budget cycle begins again. Departments and agencies would be more accountable because there would be ample time for the Legislature to evaluate the success or failure of a given program.”

Annual budgeting adds “undue pressure” on staff and policymakers behind creating the state’s budget “since the closing of the previous year’s budget, administering the new year’s budget and beginning to plan for the following year’s budget occur almost simultaneously,” according to Wilk’s office in a news release. 

“If we are going to meet the future needs of Californians, without bankrupting every citizen to pay for it, something needs to change. I think SCA 9 encourages program managers to spend time efficiently running their programs rather than defending their budgets,” Wilk added. 

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