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Legislature Increases Scrutiny on State Agency Spending

HB 30 sets performance review schedule to make sure funds spent responsibly

Friday, April 12, 2013, Juneau, Alaska – The 28th Alaska Legislature today voted to restart a practice whereby state agency spending is scrutinized on a cyclical basis to ensure that public funds are spent in the best manner possible.

House Bill 30, sponsored by Alaska Speaker of the House Mike Chenault, brings back performance reviews of state departments and agencies that were scrapped in the 1980s. The bill calls for each department to be reviewed once every ten years to make sure they are complying with their missions, core values, upholding their constitutional duty, and aren’t being duplicative.

“The fiscal times are changing, and with that so should the manner in which we invest in state services. That means drilling down, department by department and program by program to make sure Alaskans are receiving the best value for their dollar,” Speaker Chenault, R-Nikiski, said. “The 90-day session doesn’t give us the time needed to dig into a multi-billion dollar budget. With House Bill 30 we can focus our efforts on an annual basis while still keeping a big-picture tab on the operations budget.

HB 30 lays out the review process, to be undertaken by the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Division. The schedule the Division will follow is:

          2014 – Department of Corrections

          2015 – Dept. of Health and Social Services

          2016 – Dept. of Education and Early Development

          2017 – Office of the Governor, agencies of the Legislature, Alaska Court System

          2018 – University of Alaska

          2019 – Dept. of Transportation and Public Facilities

          2020 – Dept. of Administration and Dept. of Commerce, Community and Economic Development

          2021 – Dept. of Fish and Fame, Dept. of Environmental Conservation, Dept. of Natural Resources

          2022 – Dept. of Revenue, Dept. of Law, Dept. of Public Safety

          2023 – Dept. of Military and Veterans’ Affairs, Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

The review teams will look at prior audits and departmental information to determine if efficiencies can be found in elements of programs that do not serve a current need, are not authorized by the Constitution or statute, or are not essential to an agency or department’s mission. The team would look at, among other things, an agency’s 10-year growth history, and a 10-year projection of expenses.

“Fiscal responsibility means living within our means and identifying core government functions. We’ve placed it in our Guiding Principles. We intend to rein in government growth through the operating budget, and HB 30 gives us another tool to do so,” Chenault said.

HB 30 passed the House Feb. 18 and now heads to the Governor for signature. It takes effect July 1.

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