Tomorrow, MBPC will release a report on the legislative successes and missed opportunities for Indian Country. But before we do that, we thought it would be a good idea to brush up on an important term – OTO.
Welcome to this week’s wonky word.
OTO stands for one-time-only and generally speaking, when someone says OTO in Montana, they are referring to the budget.
Do you remember late last summer when we discussed base budget? This is the level of funding needed for the operation of state government in the current biennium. Basically, it is what the state needs to continue at current levels – aka – ongoing expenses.
So after the session ends and the legislature has decided how the state of Montana will invest its resources, programs included in the base budget means that these will be included in the state budget moving forward. Appropriations not in the base budget but were funded are OTO. Budget items that are designated as OTO will have to start over again in the next budget process.
Some people think of OTO and relate it to a household budget. So OTO would be similar to purchasing a new fridge. It is a one-time expense and doesn’t need to be included in your ongoing family budget. However, occasionally what should be ongoing expenses at the state level are only funded as OTO, which makes it difficult to sustain a program, because it is uncertain whether support will be continued after the two-year period.
In our report out tomorrow, you will see a few bills that were funded through OTO funding. While MBPC supports the funding of these programs, we will highlight why it they should have been included in the base budget.
Check back soon and learn more about how Indian Country fared in the 2015 Legislature.
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MBPC is a nonprofit organization focused on providing credible and timely research and analysis on budget, tax, and economic issues that impact low- and moderate-income Montana families.