More Transparency for Other Funds
S.1005 would mandate the reporting of information related to other funds, defined in the bill as “all non-general fund revenue appropriated or authorized by the General Assembly in acts and joint resolutions appropriating revenues for the operations of state government.” The budget is divided primarily into three sources of funds:
- general funds (from general taxation),
- federal funds
- fine and fee revenue and other dedicated revenues (typically referred to as other funds)
The way the budget is currently written little can be gleaned about the appropriation and use of other funds. In fact the budget which appears on the statehouse website confusingly lumps other funds and federal funds into a “total funds” category.
S.1005 attempts to at least somewhat rectify this situation by requiring the Executive Budget Office (EBO), after the state’s books are closed for the fiscal year, to compile “information from each state agency and institution detailing the categories and amounts of ‘other funds’ balances carried forward by those entities into the current fiscal year and the uses to which these funds will be applied in the current fiscal year.” This information would be put into a report by EBO and distributed to the General Assembly no later than November 1 each year.
This bill would only compile information on other funds once they had already been appropriated and carried forward, and it does not mandate the information be made available to the public. Nonetheless these reports could likely be obtained, by FOIA if necessary, and may help to reveal the specific use of funds in the state budget which are currently shrouded in mystery. Mandating the presentation of information related to carry forward funds may also provide an incentive for legislators to consider the appropriation of new funds a little more carefully.