There were a couple of interesting developments in state budgeting last week.
First, Governor Kitzhaber ordered a hiring freeze in state government, a step many observers thought had already been taken in response to the continuing downturn in state revenue. His order followed a request from the three co-chairs of the Joint Ways and Means Committee who are preparing for a budget-dominated legislative session in February.
Second, Kitzhaber's chief operating officer for state government, Michael Jordan, appeared before the annual Business Summit in Portland to summarize a new bare-bones approach to the state government budget for the 2013-15 biennium. According to observers who heard the Jordan presentation, it will depart from the time-honored approach of building one biennial budget on top of another without taking a zero-based look at programs.
But the headline of this blog states another key premise that should exist in state government.
If you, as a state agency manager, are buying something from a private sector contractor, you should know what you are buying. If you, as a state legislator, are reviewing or voting on an agency budget, you should know what you are buying.