MONTGOMERY, Ala. – On Wednesday, Senator Clyde Chambliss (R-Prattville) was named co-chairman of a budget reform task force created by the Alabama Legislature during the special session that ended on September 7. Senator Chambliss will lead the Joint Legislative Task Force for Budget Reform, which over the next four months will examine every aspect of the legislative budgeting process and make recommendations for reform to the Legislature.
The Joint Task Force held its first meeting on Wednesday at the Statehouse.
“We are approaching fiscal problems in the next few years that will be tougher than those we have faced in the recent past. I want to stop reacting to issues on a yearly basis and be proactive about our financial future,” Chambliss said.
“We need to make a plan that will work for years to come. These changes sometimes take several years to yield results so we must study, research, and act – soon,” Chambliss continued.
Several parts of Alabama’s state budgeting process are ripe for reform. For instance, more than eighty percent of Alabama’s tax dollars are earmarked (the highest percentage of earmarks in the country), leaving policymakers with little flexibility to efficiently allocate resources in times of budget austerity. Additionally, more than $4.5 billion in tax revenue is given out via tax credits, deductions, and exemptions, and many of these are decades old.
As laid out in HJR62, the 14-member committee will consider un-earmarking proposals and evaluate existing deductions and exemptions in the tax code. The committee will also recommend a plan of action for requiring all state departments to undergo more intensive performance reviews.
“The end goal is deep fiscal reform that will put both the General Fund and the Education Trust Fund on a sustainable trajectory for years to come,” Chambliss stated.
In accordance with HJR62, the task force will meet monthly over the next four months and will report its findings and recommendations to the full Legislature at the beginning of the 2017 regular session.
Clyde Chambliss represents District 30 in the Alabama Senate, which is comprised of all or parts of Tallapoosa, Chilton, Autauga, Coosa, and Elmore counties. Senator Chambliss is the founder of Chambliss Engineering in Prattville. Email Senator Chambliss at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter: @Clyde_SD30