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Spilka Named to Head-Up Conference Committee on State Finance Reform: Modernizing and Improving Efficiency, Transparency and Accountability of State Government

March 26, 2012

(BOSTON) – Today, Senator Karen Spilka announced that she was named to serve as the Senate Chair of the six member conference committee tasked with resolving the differences between the Senate and House versions of the state financial and administrative reform legislation.

“This legislation improves efficiency and accountability by updating the Commonwealth’s finance laws and requiring our agencies and programs to start measuring performance and outcomes,” said Spilka. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with my colleagues on the conference committee on a final bill that will increase oversight and require smart and effective management of the state’s finances.”

The provisions of the Senate bill include:

  • Requiring regular reviews and analysis of state agencies through the new Office of Performance Management, which was included for the economic development agencies in Senator Spilka’s Economic Development Reform Bill of 2010;
  • Distributing unrestricted local aid monthly rather than quarterly beginning in fiscal year 2013 to help cities and towns better identify their available cash flow and reduce the state’s reliance on short-term borrowing to support cash flow;
  • Mandating “zero”-based budgeting, which requires a budget to start from zero and build to a number that reflects the input from performance measures and an evaluation of current needs instead of relying on the previous year’s budget, beginning in fiscal year 2017 and then at least once every four years;
  • Creating a “sunset commission” to regularly evaluate the productivity, successes and failures of agencies and programs, and establishing a special commission to make decisions about the ongoing need for existing state agencies and boards based on their core missions and performance;
  • Requiring quarterly cash flow reports to compare actual spending and revenue in a reporting period with the estimates previously made for that period and analyzing the discrepancies;
  • Requiring an independent debt affordability study to be performed before the Governor sets a bond cap and issues bonds for a particular fiscal year, and requiring that report to be publicly available online; and
  • Eliminating outdated paper-based systems to more efficient electronic accounting and reporting.

Senate President Therese Murray originally filed this legislation, which unanimously passed the Senate on June 9, 2011. The House passed its version in February 2012.

Spilka takes the chief spot on the committee vacated by Senator Steven Baddour who announced his resignation from the conference committee during the Senate’s informal session today.

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