SECTION 1. Chapter 3 of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding the following section:-
Section 70. (a) There shall be a permanent legislative fiscal office to serve as a service agency for the legislature, which shall consist of a director and deputy director and staff to assist the director and deputy director. The director and deputy director shall be appointed by joint decision of the lieutenant governor, treasurer, secretary of administration and finance, house chairman of ways and means and senate chairman of ways and means. The director, deputy director and staff shall have substantial experience in financial management, accounting or other related fields.
(b) The legislative fiscal office shall research and provide assistance and analysis to legislators, legislative staff and legislative committees on the fiscal impact of proposed legislation or the state budget. The findings and recommendations of the office are not binding upon the legislature, but an independent assessment of costs and proposals of statutory changes to produce a more cost-sensible and effective proposal. Legislators can request that costs of a proposed bill be reviewed at any time during the legislative process, and if such a review is requested, the review shall be completed prior to the reporting of the bill from its current committee.
(c) The legislative fiscal office shall have the following responsibilities:
(1) Provide fiscal analysis on proposed legislation
(2) Analyze Governor’s proposed budget
(3) Following each legislative session, the office shall prepare a report detailing all appropriations of the legislature including, but not limited to, data concerning final fiscal year budget, supplemental budgets, bonds, tax incentives and fiscal impact of bills signed into law during the legislative session.
(d) The funds for the operations of the legislative fiscal office shall be appropriated by the Legislature from the state general fund from year to year and shall be included in and constitute a separate item in the act appropriating funds for the expenses of the Legislature.
(e) The books and records of the legislative fiscal office shall be subject to audit by the state auditor’s office.
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