Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Fiscal Year 2014 Budget – Constitutional Officers & State Administration

In case you missed it, yesterday marked the first day of debate on the House Ways & Means Fiscal Year 2014 Budget.

As you may have heard, the House of Representatives recently unveiled their $33.8 billion state budget proposal. While the budget presented to the Legislature includes significantly less spending then Governor Patrick’s budget proposal, the House’s plan relies too heavily on revenue found in the recently passed transportation finance bill, and House Republicans will continue to oppose this fiscally irresponsible approach.

Late last night, debate shifted its focus from education and local aid to amendments relative to constitutional officers and state administration. Below, you will find the amendments offered by House Republicans, along with a brief description of the amendment.

Constitutional Officers & State Administration

Amendment 272 - Voter ID (Diehl, Geoff) Adds a new outside section requiring voters to present valid identification in order to cast a ballot.

Amendment 308 - Consolidation of Registrars (Diehl, Geoff) Adds a new outside section creating a commission to study the feasibility of consolidating the RMV, the Registries of Probate, and the Registries of Deeds. The commission must report to the Governor and the Legislature by December 31, 2014.

Amendment 368 - Audit of Agency Credit Cards (Jones, Bradley) Adds a new outside section requiring the State Auditor to conduct an annual audit of credit cards issued on behalf of state agencies, with the report due by December 31, 2013.

Amendment 379 - Electronic Paperwork (Jones, Bradley) Adds several new outside sections requiring ANF to increase government efficiency by requiring the use of electronic paperwork whenever possible to decrease duplicative paperwork requirements and increase the availability of online transactions.

Amendment 380 - Pacheco Exemption for PPPs (Jones, Bradley) Adds two new outside sections which exempt any public-private partnerships for highway projects from the so-called Pacheco Law.

Amendment 381 - PPP Commission Minority Leader Appointment (Jones, Bradley) Adds appointments made by the Minority Leaders in the House and Senate to SECTION 96, which creates a new public-private partnership commission.

Amendment 383 - State Employee Compensation Study (Jones, Bradley) Adds a new outside section creating a commission to study state employee compensation, including: an accounting of the number of employees that earn more than $100K and the change in the number of such employees over a 10 year period; a comparison of employee salaries across other department and agencies with similar titles or job classifications; and the change in staffing levels at various departments over time.

Amendment 384 - State Employees and Consultants (Jones, Bradley) Adds a new outside section prohibiting a former state employee from being hired as a consultant by the Commonwealth within 1 year of leaving state employment.

Amendment 522 - Non-Profit Audit Unit (Kuros, Kevin) Adds $500K by creating a new line item (0710-xxxx) for a non-profit audit unit to be administered by the State Auditor for the auditing of all non-profit companies contracting with the Department of Public Health. Inserted after line-item 0710- 0300.

Amendment 534 - Lottery Ticket Litter Reduction (Kuros, Kevin) Earmarks $1M from the State Lottery Program Advertisement account (0640- 0010) for the creation, implementation, and marketing of a program to recycle lottery tickets to reduce waste and litter.

Amendment 555 - Head Injury Treatment Services Trust Fund (Ferguson, Kimberly) Adds two new outside sections that dedicate 100% of the $50 surcharge collected from speeding violations and 100% of the $250 surcharge for operating under the influence or operating negligently to the Head Injury Treatment Services Trust Fund.

Amendment 728 - Audit of State Funded Credit Cards (O'Connell, Shaunna) Adds a new outside section requiring the State Auditor to account for every credit card funded by the Commonwealth and distributed by all state agencies and quasi-independent agencies.