Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL-12): Hey, Let's Do Zero-Based Budgeting

I knew there was a reason I liked Representative Dennis Ross (R-FL-12):

Before I was honored by you, my fellow citizens, to serve in Congress, I spent the past 20 years owning and operating a small law firm in Lakeland. I met a payroll, provided health insurance and knew that every dollar of waste was a dollar too much.

I also understood that just because we did something last year, doesn’t mean we need to do it again this year. In business, before you spend money, you must ask at least three questions: Why are you spending the money? What you are spending the money on? And, after the money is spent, did you get what you paid for?

Unfortunately, in government, none of those questions are being asked — until now.

I plan to introduce my first piece of legislation as a member of Congress on Monday. It will be titled the Zero Based Budget Act. The legislation will demand the federal government, including Congress, move to what is referred to as a zero-based budget. This method of budgeting is nothing new in business, but it will be a dramatic change for Washington.

Investopedia defines zero-based budgeting as, “A method of budgeting in which all expenses must be justified for each new period. Zero-based budgeting starts from a ‘zero base’ and every function within an organization is analyzed for its needs and costs. Budgets are then built around what is needed for the upcoming period, regardless of whether the budget is higher or lower than the previous one.”

Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Dennis Ross is my newest hero. But wait, there’s more! Not only does Dennis Ross want to do Zero-Based Budgeting for the federal level, but he has many reforms where many government groups will have to work for their money:

In addition to demanding a zero starting point, my legislation accomplishes a few other necessary reforms.

First, every department and agency of the federal government, when submitting its budget request each year, must provide a description of each activity for which a department or agency receives an appropriation.

Second, every department and agency of the federal government must cite to Congress the legal basis under which they may lawfully receive an appropriation.

Third, every department and agency of the federal government must offer three alternative funding levels. Additionally, two out of the three must be for less money than the prior budget year. This innovative budget mechanism will allow agencies and department leaders to help Congress cut waste, or risk Congress taking an across-the-board approach. Tell us where to cut or we will cut for you.

Lastly, for each activity for which a department or agency requests money, they must provide a summary of its cost effectiveness and efficiency to the taxpayer. This will allow Congress and taxpayers to judge whether we are truly getting our money’s worth.

I approve. There is many local governments moving to this kind of budgeting* and I also like the reforms mentioned in this article. So of course I would support the act he just described.

I suggest you call your representative/senator and tell ask them to support Dennis Ross’ Zero-Based Budget Bill.

[Cross-Posted On Practical State.com]


*I know one of my School Board members is asking the School Board head in that dirrection.