Georgia Finally Has Zero-Based Budgeting

After several years of coming close to bring zero-based budgeting to Georgia, Governor Deal has signed SB33. Congrats to Senator David Shafer and Rep. Stephen Allison who both worked extremely hard on this measure.

Meanwhile the Governor vetoed a few bills including HB456, the “sunset” bill. Deal said:

This bill establishes a new Legislative Sunset Advisory Committee of 14 members that is authorized to review and evaluate every state entity of the executive branch with the purpose of determining which state agencies and entities should be abolished. Implementing HB 456 is estimated to cost between $3 and $7 million. Growing state government with a new committee and statutory authority to review state agencies and the related expenses is not an effective use of state resources. Currently, the General Assembly reviews and evaluates state agencies using the staff in Senate Budget and Evaluation Office, the House Budget and Research Office, and the Senate and House Appropriations committees. Additionally the Department of Audits Performance Audits Division conducts evaluations of state-funded programs and activities to improve state operations. The programs and agencies investigated by the Performance Audit Division are based on the recommendations of legislators and legislative committees. Final performance audits reports and special examinations are published on the Department of Audits website. I have signed SB 33, a bill requiring that all state programs and agencies be reviewed over the next eight to 10 years using Zero Based Budgeting. The ZBB review process is the most cost-effective and efficient way to accomplish the goal of reviewing agency expenditures, evaluating performance and ensuring that we are focused on delivering essential services. Through the budget and legislative process this session alone we have eliminated councils, committees (SB 407) and one state agency (HB 642). The first year of ZBB reviews resulted in elimination of the State Personnel Administration, agency consolidations and realignments, over $9 million in savings, required no additional staff, was a collaborative process with agencies and the House and Senate budget offices and utilized the existing legislative process and House and Senate Appropriations Committees to make the final determinations on the ZBB recommendations. The FY 2013 ZBB Report is available at The intent and desired outcomes of HB 456 are and will be achieved through SB 33 and ZBB review. No additional overhead is needed because legislative authority, committees, and staff to review state agencies and operations are already established in law and the General Assembly did not include funding to implement this legislation, therefore I VETO HB 456.


  1. ugadog says:

    Finally has zero-based budgeting??? Huh? You mean Georgia finally has zero-based budgeting again? Georgia got rid of it after it was so pointless the first time when Jimmy Carter did it.

    • I Miss the 90s says:

      Zero-Based Budgeting is probably not going to change anything in GA and it is not going to be a “true” zero-based budgeting process. I am pretty sure the veto of HB456 ensures that it GA will not have a true zero-based budgeting process

      I am interested to see how much wool the GOP will pull over the eyes of its supporters using the quasi-zero based approach. The state currently has several agencies that are not only revenue generating, but they are underfunded. I am curious how many of these agencies will further have their budgets cut in attempts to sabotage public policy (I guess I will have to wait until next year to find out).

  2. debbie0040 says:

    Gov. Deal broke a campaign promise by not signing the Sunset Bill. Zero Based Budgeting without the Sunset Bill has no teeth. Gov. Deal’s excuse for not signing it is full of crap.. Everyone knows why he opposed the Sunset Bill. He was going to support it as long as his office had control over the process…

    The budget Gov. Deal signed had 15 million for the GWCC to buy land for the new stadium, almost 7 million dollars to begin to implement ObamaCare and another 38 million for state health coverage mandated under ObamaCare. The budget passed this year was larger than the one passed last year yet he did not want to spend 3 million dollars for a program that would save tens of millionds of dollars

    • Harry says:

      Yep, that’s really unfortunate. I don’t blame Deal for wanting to retain functionality of executive branch agencies. After all, that’s the governor’s purview. I do blame legislative leadership and Deal for bowing down to Obamacare. I wonder if they’ll unappropriate the funds if it’s found unconstitutional.

      • debbie0040 says:

        The Governor would have still had control. No recommendations could be carried without legislative approval and Gov. Deal signing off on it. I think all state agencies should be looked at and evaluated. The Sunset Bill would have evaluated all state agencies. Gov. Deal does not pay their salaries, the tax-payers of this state do. The bottom line is Gov. Deal promised to sign both the Sunset Bill and Zero Based Budgeting Bill when he was campaigning and even last year.

        This video explains what the Sunset Bill did.

        Texas pass a similar bill and save millions of dollars over what it cost to implement.

        “To amend Chapter 4 of Title 50 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating tothe organization of the executive branch generally, so as to establish the “Georgia Government Accountability Act”; to provide for a short title; to provide for legislative intent; to create the Legislative Sunset Advisory Committee; to authorize the committee to review and evaluate state agencies’ productivity, efficiency, and responsiveness; to provide for the automatic abolition of certain state agencies contingent upon adoption of a resolution by the General Assembly declaring that the state laws applicable to such agency have been repealed, revised, or reassigned; to provide for related matters; to provide an effective date; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.”

    • sunkawakan says:

      Perhaps Gov. Deal is beginning to realize, at some level, that reality trumps fantasy?

  3. saltycracker says:

    The other side of the balance is revenue. The more complex the tax code, the more fraud and errors. The code is too complex to adequately oversee and the system relies more and more on the “honor” system.

    The colander of taxation just has to get bigger and bigger as the codes, subsequent exceptions and oversight departments grow.

    Our legislators seem to have a vested interest in keeping it complicated and corrupt.

    Genius (and a sense of public fairness) is in simplicity with taxation.

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