LAS VEGAS — Responding to the Nevada Budget Department’s release of the “Agency Request Budget — Items for Special Consideration,” NPRI Deputy Policy Director Geoffrey Lawrence issued the following comments:
While it's great to see that Gov. Brian Sandoval has complied with Nevada's public-records laws by releasing the full agency-budget requests, Nevadans shouldn't place much stake in those requests’ significance.
That’s because they assume that every government agency should be given a substantial funding increase through costs — including pay increases — that automatically roll up. This outdated and broken budgeting process, commonly referred to as “baseline budgeting,” failed to exact any accountability over the use of public resources.
Fortunately, during the 2011 session, Sandoval and lawmakers took bipartisan action on an NPRI recommendation to reform the state budget process and adopted a new, priority- and performance-based approach.
This allows policymakers to identify the state's highest needs and to target the state's limited resources to the areas where those resources can have the greatest impact. Those moreimportant and credible agency budget requests had already been made public by the governor.
The requests released today are a relic of an old, dysfunctional system. Nevadans should recognize that agency requests produced through the old budget process are completely meaningless today, and these requests should be ignored.