Could PA’s biggest budget spenders finally have a balanced budget?

11 April 2024- With a governor who has seen the positive use of zero-based budgeting, now is the perfect time to implement the budgeting practice in Harrisburg, said Rep. Dawn Keefer (R-Dillsburg).

Keefer’s House Bill 1133 would require state agencies that account for at least 20% of the General Fund budget to prepare and submit a zero-based budget plan. Her bill was unveiled during a press conference today on the “Back to Basics” government reform bills. The legislative package is based on observations and feedback from state agencies during the 2024 budget hearings.

“During budget hearings, state agencies consistently lobbied for additional funding and programs, while sharing limited to no ideas for curbing spending or saving taxpayer dollars by cutting or eliminating ineffective programs,” Keefer said. “That’s why for the past three legislative sessions I have sponsored zero-based budgeting legislation.”

As a Montgomery County commissioner, Gov. Josh Shapiro championed and implemented zero-based budgeting at a time when the county faced a $10 million budget hole and a $49 million structural deficit. Within a year, Montgomery County had a balanced budget with no new taxes. Just four years later, the county ended the year with a $1.6 million surplus and had decreased overall spending by 10 percent.

“This is a budgeting technique that has proven to work and has saved taxpayers millions of dollars in just one county. Imagine what it can do on a much larger scale at the state level,” Keefer said. “I believe adopting a zero-based budgeting approach will result in new cost efficiencies and streamlined, accountable government spending.”