State budget: Change the culture

Barbour’s budget plan lays out a vision to get through the current Fiscal Year 2010, the budget that lawmakers will craft this spring for FY 2011 and to succeeding budget years down the road. Barbour’s policy initiatives are forward-thinking and designed for the long haul in state government.

The Joint Legislative Budget Committee recommendation unveiled this week provided numbers, but was short on policy recommendations, a roadmap. This was a summary and legislators say those details will come later in a comprehensive budget plan to be submitted in January. But rather than simply trying to get through the coming fiscal year – election year – lawmakers should be laying groundwork for significant change for the succeeding years to follow.

Gov. Phil Bryant’s Commission of a New Mississippi outlined a plan for strategic planning and budgeting that interjects performance-based budgeting into the discussion. That’s a sound recommendation, albeit one that’s been around for a long time and roundly ignored by the Legislature.