Senate Bill No. 35

Introduced By jenkins

By Request of the Legislative Finance Committee

A Bill for an Act entitled: An Act providing procedures and standards for making budget comparisons and determining budget performance.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Montana:

Section 1.  Definitions. As used in [section 2], the following definitions apply:

(1) "Current biennium" means the biennium during which the legislature is meeting in regular session.

(2) "Next biennium" means the biennium for which the regular session of the legislature makes appropriations.

(3) (a) "State resources" means:

(i) the general fund;

(ii) state special revenue funds other than private funds;

(iii) federal special revenue funds;

(iv) proprietary funds that require an appropriation;

(v) long-range building program appropriations; and

(vi) agency funds distributed to local governments.

(b) The term does not include:

(i) debt service funds;

(ii) capital project funds other than those appropriated;

(iii) internal service or proprietary funds that do not require an appropriation;

(iv) fund transfers;

(v) enterprise funds;

(vi) unrestricted or other university funds;

(vii) agency funds not distributed to local governments;

(viii) expendable trust funds;

(ix) nonexpendable trust funds;

(x) pension trust funds;

(xi) noncash accounting entries; and

(xii) private funds deposited in state special revenue accounts.

Section 2.  Budget performance -- comparison. (1) The measure of budget performance is the total actual or estimated expenditure of state resources that reflects the cost of general government operations funded by taxes and fees.

(2) In preparing budget comparisons, the office of budget and program planning and the legislative fiscal division shall compare actual expenditures of state resources in the first year of the current biennium plus appropriations of state resources in the second year of the current biennium to appropriations of state resources in the next biennium. Anticipated reversions may be deducted from appropriated amounts per agreement between the two offices.

(3) The legislative fiscal analyst and the budget director shall enter into an agreement on measurement standards for budget comparisons. The office of budget and program planning and the legislative fiscal division shall use the same methodology to estimate the amounts of statutory appropriations. If there are differences in estimates of revenue or amounts of statutory appropriations, the legislative fiscal analyst shall explain the differences as part of the independent analysis of the executive budget.

(4) Budget comparisons must include the same attributes and methods of calculation. Items that are not appropriated at the beginning of a biennium, such as budget amendments, supplemental appropriations, and emergency appropriations, must be included in budget comparisons, but must be segregated and indicated as noncomparable items.

Section 3.  Codification instruction. [Sections 1 and 2] are intended to be codified as an integral part of Title 17, chapter 7, and the provisions of Title 17, chapter 7, apply to [sections 1 and 2].