State Senator Mike Morgan, chairman of the Legislative Oversight Committee on State Budget Performance, said he was pleased with the initial meeting of the group charged with implementing zerobased budgeting in Oklahoma.
I would say for a first meeting, this went very, very well. I think the overriding thing that became clear today was that we have a very large task in front of us. Theres going to be a lot of information for the members to work with, and this is going to be a big job, said Morgan, DStillwater.
A fouryear process was outlined for reviewing all 0 agencies receiving state funding, meaning the committee will scrutinize approximately 20 entities each year. During Mondays meeting, members decided on the first round of agencies to be reviewed, including the Department of Education, which is the largest state agency in Oklahoma. The committee will also review the budgets of two of the fastest growing agencies in terms of appropriations the Department of Corrections and the Oklahoma Health Care Authority. According to Morgan, who is also chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Education will likely be the first of the three larger agencies to be reviewed.
While Education, Corrections and the Health Care Authority will be reviewed by the joint committee during the first year, Senator Morgan urged members to begin with two smaller agencies to be recommended by fiscal staff. He explained that such a move would enable everyone involved to get a clearer idea of how the process will work. Morgan also noted that even though the legislation only required a minimum of four meetings a year, it would take much more than that to get the job done. The committee agreed with his recommendation to meet weekly beginning on September . For us to have meaningful input into the budget process for this coming year, we need to complete a great deal of our work during the interim. I realize this will require enormous additional work on the behalf of our members and staff alike. But we are serious about this process and dedicated to making it work on behalf of the people of this state, said Senator Morgan.
In addition to Senator Morgan, other members of the bipartisan committee include House Appropriations and Budget Committee Chairman Billy Mitchell, DLindsay, who will serve as vice chairman of the Legislative Oversight Committee Senator Johnnie Crutchfield, DArdmore Senator Ben Robinson DMuskogee Senator Randy Brogdon ROwasso Senator Mike Johnson, RKingfisher Representative Jari Askins, DDuncan Representative Jack Bonny, DBurns Flat Representative Chris Benge, RTulsa and Representative Kevin Calvey, RDel City.