Legislative business in the fiscal session was all but completed this morning. Formal adjournment is set next week.
Thoughts invited on the merits the fiscal session. Is the state a solid beneficiary of a mandatory annual session? Or is it mostly pro forma ratification of budgets, with some tinkering at the edges and a good excuse for more legislative per diem and expenses?
I know that the debate on the expansion of Medicaid drained a lot of oxygen from the Capitol. But it’s not justification for a fiscal sesson. That debate was only a byproduct of a hopelessly outdated Constitution and a 75 percent vote requirement for certain types of spending bills, not really a measure of serious financial oversight. In the end, the legislature re-authorized a program on which the main battle was fought and decided last year. Committee meetings otherwise were held. Subjects were discussed. Bills were passed. But did it really matter much?
I asked Joint Budget Co-Chair Duncan Baird, a measured thinker, for a quick thought on Twitter about the worth of the fiscal session, a meeting with a limited agenda and duration established by a 2008 constitutional amendment. His remark:
There’s value to the fiscal session, but we have to work to realize that value. Still early in the history of fiscals.