What Cloaked and Secretive Budget Process?
Its painful to say but Fred Silva, the senior fiscal policy advisor for California Forward, is dead wrong.
He laments in a July 1 post on Fox & Hounds that “in an era when more and more Californians are demanding accountability and transparency in government, our budgeting process has slid back into the cloaked era of the past.”
Silva notes that the act of creating a state spending plan became more open beginning in the 1970s, leading to extensive and eventually televised hearings.
That’s all true but as the top budget advisor to former Senate President Pro Tempore David Roberti, Silva wouldn’t exactly be a stranger to a bit of under-the-radar-screen fiscal skullduggery.
“Now, the dark days of behind-closed-doors budget-making have returned,” Silva continues.
“Budgets require legislative policy changes that should be heard in public committees – But they are not.
“No better example exists than the major change in the current budget on how to treat school district solvency. One day after the dust has settled on this budget agreement, school districts are outraged at AB 114, which they had not seen until it arrived on the governor’s desk.”
And so on.
It’s unclear what budget process Silva is taking to task.
After his election as Assembly Speaker in January 2010, John Perez, a Los Angeles Democrat, announced, among other things, at a Capitol press conference that the “budget process of the Assembly will be open, honest, transparent and inclusive.”
If the Speaker says so, then it must be so.
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