Chairman Enzi: States Could Have Lessons on Fixing America’s Broken Budget Process

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY), Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, today continued the committee’s work on fixing America’s broken budget and spending process, with a focus on how different state budget processes work, and whether some state practices could be successfully applied to the federal level. Enzi noted that the way Wyoming budgets and spends could provide important lessons for Congress on fiscal responsibility.  

“An important lesson to be learned from the states is fiscal responsibility,” Chairman Enzi said. “Our nation is now $22 trillion in debt. Carrying over even a small deficit from year-to-year is rare at the state level. Forty-six states have statutory or constitutional requirements to balance the budget, and the four states without such a requirement functionally balance their budget every year. What is even more impressive is that they finish these spending bills on time, something Congress hasn’t done in more than 20 years.”

Enzi noted that forty percent of states appropriate on a biennial cycle, which is a concept that could be applied to the federal level. He said moving to a two-year funding cycle would give Congress more time to attend to executive branch oversight and policy development, and reduce the potential for government shutdowns. It would also create much needed predictability for federal agencies and the Americans who rely on the services they provide.

“We must construct a better budget and spending process that focuses on the long-term fiscal health of the nation and is smarter about when and how we make budget decisions,” said Chairman Enzi. “The budget process must also plan and pay for natural disasters and other emergencies, while holding decision makers accountable. Working together, I am hopeful this committee will produce bipartisan process solutions this year.” 

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