Budget hearings give glimpse of priorities, challenges faced by Legislature

It’s almost that time again. You know, the thing that only comes once a year. I’m not talking about Christmas; I’m talking about legislative budget hearings.

Starting Monday of next week, the Joint Legislative Budget Committee – known as the JLBC – will meet with select state agencies and commissions to hear about their needs, wants, and everything in-between…as long as it relates to money, of course.

And frankly, what doesn’t cost money these days?

Budget hearings may not sound very exciting. The truth is, they’re not. Agency presentations are focused on current spending, projected expenses, and specific budgetary line-items. Not exactly riveting material. But the staff of the Legislative Budget Office (LBO, pronounced “elbow”); lobbyists; researchers; journalists; and just plain old budget hacks like me lap this stuff up.

Hearings start off with an aggressive schedule: First, as usual, there will be an update from the State Personnel Board’s executive director who will give lawmakers a briefing on state government employee trends, including demographic breakdowns and salary information.

Capitol Chronicles