The Budget Transparency and Simplification Act was intended to streamline spending by wiping out the practice of some state government agencies paying others for things such as rent and technology services. It was also supposed to move all “special funds,” which are fees collected for specific programs, into the general state budget.
But, before the current budget year even started in July, Attorney General Jim Hood responded to agencies’ requests for legal advice and said the Legislature lacked the legal authority to move special funds into the general budget. Though his advice isn’t legally binding, it provides guidance for agencies, including the state Department of Finance and Administration, the main money minder within state government.
Some money can’t be spent. So, rather than simplifying the budget process, the 2016 law has made things more complicated — at least for now.