We are starting to get really wonky this week with base budget. After today, you should be able show off at the water cooler next time people start talking about the Legislature or Montana’s budget.
Here we go.
The Legislative Fiscal Division (LFD) defines base budget as the resources needed for the operation of state government that provide for expenses in the current biennium (remember biennium is how Montana budgets – every two years). Basically, it is the level of on-going funding that the legislature approved in the last biennium. I talked to LFD yesterday to get a clearer picture of what they mean and this is the equation they gave me.
(Total expenditures in the last Fiscal Year) – (non-ongoing funds) = base budget
So you may ask, what are “non-ongoing” funds? Well, let me tell you. There are three types of “non-ongoing" funds.
The base budget is the starting point for how the Legislature builds its budget. It is the foundation. The last Legislature’s base budget was $1.577 billion, and that was based off of FY12’s expenditures. The next base budget for our upcoming Legislature will be released on September 1 and will be based on FY14 expenditures. After the base budget is established, the Legislature must look at what adjustments might be needed to continue current level of government services, and it must decide what else it wants to invest in, like any new programs or new spending. Next week, we will get into exciting topics like “present-law adjustments” and “new proposals” which are those additional investments. Don’t you feel smarter already?
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