A step in the right direction

Published 2:07 pm Wednesday, August 26, 2009

By Staff
The Budget Reform and Accountability Commission met Tuesday.
What is the commission and why is it important?
The commission, appointed by Gov. Beverly Perdue, is charged with looking into how the state spends its money and, in particular, finding wasteful spending.
Finding wasteful spending is a worthy effort for the commission to pursue. Doing something about it, or at least identifying wasteful spending so some other entity can do something about it, would be an ever more worthy effort.
Perdue is keeping at least one of her campaign promises with the creation of the commission, signing an executive order on her first day in office in January to establish the commission. The commission’s members were appointed in March.
The commission is charged with developing a list of recommendations regarding wasteful spending before the next legislative session begins in May.
The commission is aptly named. There is no doubt that reform and accountability is needed when it comes to the state’s budget. The political parties in the state, state taxpayers and even state legislators from all political parties will agree, to some degree, there is a need for budget reform and eliminating wasteful spending at the state level.
The hard part comes in getting some of those legislators to do more than pay lip service to budget reform and accountability. The Legislature will need to do more than just accept the commission’s list of recommendations next spring. There needs to be some action in the Legislature other than telling the commission “thanks” for its work.
Here’s a suggestion for the commission: Come up with recommendations that will make the state’s budget as lean as possible, but a budget that will provide the state’s residents with the services and programs they need. That’s a tall order, considering it’s the Legislature that cobbles the state’s budgets.
If the commission makes recommendations that will bring about budget reforms and reduce, if not eliminate, wasteful spending, and the Legislature pays no heed to those recommendations, then the commission’s members can hold their heads high because they did their jobs.
Let’s hope that after the commission does it job that the Legislature will do one of its jobs — putting together responsible budgets.