SECTION 1. Chapter 29 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting, after section 5H, the following new section:-
Section 5I: Development and Adoption of Zero-Based Budget Estimates
The Secretary of Administration and Finance, with the approval of the Governor, shall on a quadrennial basis develop and submit to the Clerks of the Senate and House of Representatives a zero-based budget, so-called, for each agency and department of state government. Said zero-based budget shall reflect the amount of funding deemed necessary to achieve the most cost-effective performance of each agency or department pursuant to an accompanying narrative delineating the tasks to be performed by that agency or department, together with goals and objectives for each agency or department for a period not to exceed four years. Said budget shall have a zero dollar amount as its basis, and shall not reflect any prior appropriation amount, adjusted or otherwise. Said zero-based budget shall be referred by the Senate and House of Representatives to the committees of subject matter jurisdiction relevant to each component of said budget. Such committees shall evaluate each such component, taking into account all available information, including that provided by public testimony in oral and written form. The evaluations of the committee shall then be reported to the Senate and House Committees on Ways and Means.
The Ways and Means Committees of the Senate and House of Representatives shall, jointly or individually, conduct at least one public hearing on the zero-based budget and shall also receive written and electronic testimony for a period of not less than 30 days on said budget. Said ways and means committees shall jointly develop and submit to the Clerks of the Senate and House of Representatives a zero-based budget estimate not later than 60 days following the receipt of the zero-based budget estimate filed by the Secretary pursuant to this section. Said zero-based budget estimate shall be included in a joint resolution and placed before the members of the General Court for their consideration. Such joint resolution, if adopted, shall be employed in evaluating each annual budget considered by the General Court for the four years following its adoption.
Zero-based budgeting shall mean, for the purposes of this section, a means of developing appropriations based on the cost-effective achievement of the tasks and goals of a particular agency or department without regard to prior appropriations, adjusted for inflation or otherwise. Any appropriation so developed shall to the extent possible, be accompanied by a brief description of said tasks and goals together with the performance measure of the achievement of those tasks and goals.
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