Monrovia-Republican and newly elected Speaker of the Alabama House Mac McCutcheon along with Anniston-Republican and Senate President Pro Tempore Del Marsh on Friday announced the members of the Joint Task Force for Budget Reform.
Created by HJR62, during the most recent special session, the task force is comprised of lawmakers focused on identifying long-term budget reforms.
Leading the task force is Trussville-Republican Rep. Danny Garrett and Prattville-Republican Sen. Clyde Chambliss, who will serve as co-chairs of the committee. Additionally, the following individuals have been appointed to serve n the bipartisan task force:
- Sen. Greg Albritton (R-Range)
- Sen. Linda Coleman-Madison (D- Birmingham)
- Sen. Bill Hightower (R-Mobile)
- Sen. Bill Holtzclaw (R-Madison)
- Sen. Bobby Singleton (D-Greensboro)
- Sen. Phil Williams (R-Rainbow City)
- Rep. Anthony Daniels (R-Huntsville)
- Rep. Allen Farley (R –McCalla)
- Rep. John Knight (D- Montgomery)
- Rep. Chris Pringle (R-Mobile)
- Rep. Kyle South (R-Fayette)
- Rep. Rich Wingo (R-Tuscaloosa)
As laid out in HJR62, the 14-member panel will consider several potential areas of reform including: un-earmarking, biennial budgeting, tax credits, deductions and exemptions, and performance reviews or a “zero-based budgeting” approach to assessing state agencies.
“Our number one priority is addressing Alabama’s long-term budget challenges, and I believe this task force can bring forth the bold, innovative solutions we need to move forward,” McCutcheon said. “Working together with the Senate, I’m confident we can bring long-overdue reforms to the budgeting process and maximize the return on investment for Alabama’s taxpayers.”
Marsh emphasized his eagerness to begin the process of looking at long-term budget solutions.
“Alabama earmarks approximately 90% of every dollar that comes into the state. This earmarking cripples the Legislature’s ability to allocate money in the budget where it is most needed,” Marsh said. “I look forward to working with the members of this task force as we continue to reform and streamline state government to make it more efficient and accountable to the taxpayers.”
Garrett, who regularly works with issues involving complex and strategic financial matters in his private sector employment, said he wants state government to adopt a more business-minded approach to the way it budgets.
“As a CFO, I want this group to approach our work much like we would an analysis of any company or corporation, with a thorough look into each and every dollar so that we can identify any waste or mismanagement that exists and eliminate it,” Garrett said. “We have important work ahead of us, and I look forward to working alongside my colleagues to put forth commonsense solutions.”
Chambliss emphasized the timeliness of the group’s work.
“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.”
In accordance with HJR62, the task force must meet before Sept. 30, 2016 and is required to hold monthly meetings thereafter. The group will report its findings, conclusions and recommendations to the full Alabama Legislature by the fifth day of the 2017 regular session.