(This article is excerpted from a policy treatment about questions states must ask themselves as they adjust to increased responsibilities and reduced revenue. The author Bob Williams is President of State Budget Solutions and previously, he was founder of the Freedom Foundation.)
By Bob Williams
Budgets drive all policy, which is why debating, writing and approving a state budget is the primary task legislators must accomplish. Governors and state agencies cannot spend even one dollar without legislative approval.
Many state legislators start the budget process by focusing almost entirely on “inputs” (i.e., how much needs to be put in to sustain current programs and expenses). They take existing programs, adjust costs for inflation, add caseload increases, splice in a few…