* From the U of I’s Institute for Government and Public Affairs…
Researchers from IGPA’s Fiscal Futures Project found that Illinois’ budget practices are badly in need of reform. They assert, “The buy-now, pay-later content choices of the past were facilitated, even disguised, by then-existing procedural and reporting practices. Reform of these practices would improve budget transparency and accountability, and help prevent Illinois from getting into such dire fiscal straits in the future.”
The IGPA team suggests five concrete steps that Illinois can take today:
1) Refine and expand multiyear budget planning,
2) Require meaningful fiscal notes to accompany legislation,
3) Modify cash-only budget reporting to include significant changes in liabilities and assets,
4) Clearly identify non-sustainable or one-time revenue sources, and
5) Adopt a broad-based budget reporting frame with meaningful spending and revenue categories consistently defined over time.
All of those would surely help. Requiring legit fiscal notes would be a good place to start, but so much more needs to be done.
The full report is here. Let us know what you think.
A working paper released by the Volcker Alliance, a nonpartisan organization established in 2013 by former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Paul A. Volcker, sets forth six basic principles of sound budgeting for states and provides ten recommendations for improved budgetary transparency, including disclosure of 1) the use of one-time revenue sources to cover recurring expenditures, 2) deferrals of spending, and 3) underfunding of infrastructure maintenance and public-worker retirement obligations.
That report is here.