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.
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 www.opb.georgia.gov. 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.