This month marks the end of the service of Kevin Fillion, director of the Senate Budget and Evaluation Office to the state Senate. He leaves behind a legacy of change and a more vibrant and open budget process.
Kevin organized the Senate Budget Office and set the tone for a more participatory role for the Senate and the Legislature in the budget and policy-making process.
The senate will roll out its principles of budgeting this week and to a great extent, these Principles are the legacy of Kevin's service to the senate and to state government. These eight principles are the chronicling of a number of policies by which the senate has attempted to operate.
From day one on the job, Kevin has been about openness and transparency in budgeting, about policy driving budgets and about the Legislature achieving its constitutional role in budgeting policy-making and oversight. The senate was the first to publish a budget with all funding sources listed which was a real eye-opener to everyone when they realized that the total state budget was approximately twice the state dollars appropriated.
Kevin has espoused program budgeting in its entirety and fought to keep programs intact in order to move to the next step in the process — evaluating and measuring results against the standards set forth in the budget document. His office has used zero-based budgeting analysis as the basis for policy decisions. Under program budgeting each department of state government will be subject to that analysis on a rotating basis.
While Kevin has very definite ideas on the operation of state government, his goal was always to give decision-makers the information and options both sub-committee chairs and the leadership of the Senate needed to decide policy and make choices about budget issues. Today the Appropriations Committee and particularly the sub-committee chairs all have a much more vital role in the process of developing the Senate version of the budget than ever before... because of Kevin's hard work and leadership.
These eight principles which will be explored in more detail later are:
1. Sound long-term fiscal policy — attuned to maintaining the state's AAA bond rating and building an adequate shortfall reserve
2. Limits on growth — Setting targets on the growth of the budget that reflect the economic times and consider key growth percentages
3. Establish policy priorities through program budgeting — funding by program tying funding levels to results measurements
4. Periodic zero-based budget analysis — Each department every four years – expanding results by measurement
5. Transparent revenue sources — the budgeting of all sources — federal funds, fees and other sources
6. Full-year funding — Funding all obligations in the general budget utilizing a revenue estimate conservatively accurate
7. Limited mid-year adjustments — Reflecting the Senate's belief that the amended budget should be restricted to constitutional responsibilities, emergency requirements and critical needs
8. Local bond projects — This policy reflects our belief that senators are elected by their constituents and should have the right to set priorities affecting their districts which may override priority lists developed by others. All proposals are reviewed for statewide and regional impact.
So, Kevin Fillion has left a record of unselfish public service and the Senate and the State are better for his work. The Senate members and staff wish him and his family the very best.
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