Budget process should be more open, more accountable and more performance-based

The unusual turnover in key leadership positions of state government has raised questions about how the budget process should proceed. Officials working on the budget now will be turning over that responsibility to a new crop of budget-writers in January.

Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant is the current chairman of the 14-member Joint Legislative Budget Committee, but he won’t be lieutenant governor. He is the Republican nominee for governor, facing Democrat Johnny DuPree, independent Will Oatis and possibly a Reform Party candidate on Nov. 8.

State Treasurer Tate Reeves is headed for the lieutenant governor’s office, facing only nominal opposition, and will choose key budget-writers in the Senate. House Speaker Bill McCoy is retiring, and the speaker’s race will hinge on the makeup of the House after the Nov. 8 elections. Whoever is the next speaker will appoint key fiscal leaders from that body.