The reason is that in the 2016 session the Legislature passed the Budget Transparency and Simplification Act that substantially changed the state’s budgeting process. But the legislative leadership has not released information detailing how those changes impact each agency.
In other words, comparing the appropriations levels for each agency before the Budget Transparency Act and afterward is comparing apples to oranges.
“A year and one-half later I do not understand how that information has not been made available to the Legislature and to the public,” said Sen. Hob Bryan, D-Amory.
Senate Appropriations Chair Buck Clarke, R-Hollandale, the chief architect of the Budget Transparency and Simplification Act, said the information Bryan and others are seeking is being developed so that eventually people will be able to compare the budgets passed by the 2015 Legislature and the 2016 Legislature. But as Bryan pointed out, the 2017 Legislature already has completed its budget work for the upcoming fiscal, starting July 1.