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ZeroBased Budgeting Committee a Key Fiscal Reform

Sen. Williamson says Republicans are hopeful that the new committee will focus on efficient spending.

State Capitol, Oklahoma City With a new joint legislative committee on zerobased budgeting scheduled to hold its firstever meeting on Monday, the Republican leaders of the House of Representatives and Senate praised its creation as part of the bipartisan budget agreement reached during the last legislative session. Senate Republican Leader James A. Williamson, RTulsa, and House Republican Leader Todd Hiett, RKellyville, also expressed hope that the new Legislative Oversight Committee on State Budget Performance will lead the way in bringing muchneeded fiscal reforms to Oklahomas state government. Republican House members are looking forward to participating on this supercommittee. Oklahomas budget situation has forced state leaders to take a much more serious look at how best to address the budget process in coming years. Last session, House and Senate Republicans insisted that this committee be formed in order for zero based budgeting to be given a serious look as a viable method to address future state budgets. The Legislature must simply find ways to make government more efficient and accountable. Members of this committee have an important responsibility. I know House Republicans are ready for the challenge. I hope my Democrat colleagues are as well, Rep. Hiett said. The work of this supercommittee, along with new requirements for the appropriations committees to conduct their own zerobased budgeting reviews of state agencies, are long overdue fiscal reforms that Republicans have endorsed for many years. If the supercommittee and the appropriations committees do their jobs right, Oklahomans can see a state government that provides better essential services at a lower cost to Oklahoma taxpayers. This is especially important during the current state budget situation, Sen. Williamson stated. HB 2 was signed by Gov. Henry on May 29, 2003, creating the Legislative Oversight Committee on State Budget Performance, commonly referred to as the zerobased budgeting supercommittee. The supercommittee is required to conduct indepth, zerobased budgeting reviews of onefourth of state agencies every year, so each agency is reviewed once every four years. The committee will file a report on each agency it reviews, determining its level of efficiency and performance, the states need for its services, and whether the agency is the best venue for providing its services. HB 2 requires the House and Senate appropriations committees to take the supercommittees reports into account when making annual appropriations, and also requires appropriators to utilize zerobased budgeting when conducting their annual reviews of state agencies. The appropriations committees must file their own reports on each state agency each year before any action can be taken on any agencys budget. The joint supercommittee consists of five members of the House and five members of Senate, including two members of each body named by the respective minority leaders. Williamson has named Senate Republican Caucus Chairman Mike Johnson, RKingfisher, and freshman Sen. Randy Brogdon, ROwasso, to the committee. Hiett named Assistant Republican Floor Leader Kevin Calvey, RDel City, and Republican Whip Chris Benge, RTulsa, to the committee.

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Sen. James A. WIlliamson Senate Republican Leader 0 22 Rep. Todd Hiett House Republican Leader 0 33