Bipartisan Sunset Review Bills Establish Long Term Reform that will Save State Billions
SACRAMENTO – Two far reaching, bipartisan governmental reform measures authored by Assemblymembers Alyson Huber and Roger Neillo have been signed by Governor Schwarzenegger. AB 1659 and AB 2130 will push the state government to identify waste, duplication and inefficiencies in state departments and agencies. The bills passed the legislature on an overwhelming bipartisan vote.
AB 1659 and AB 2130 create a process to conduct comprehensive and regular reviews of the state’s many boards, commissions, agencies and departments. If the entities cannot demonstrate they are being effective and efficient, they will be automatically eliminated.
“The Legislature creates new boards and commissions to solve a problem. Far too often, there is no on-going oversight of the newly created bureaucracy to ensure it actually solved the problem it was created to solve. The lack of accountability has been studied and known for years yet no action had been taken, until now,” said Assemblymember Alyson Huber. “Instituting a sunset review process in California finally gives us the tools we need to really cut down on waste. This is the kind of bipartisan, long term reform the state needs and could save the state billions of dollars”
As far back as 1989, the Little Hoover Commission issued a report, entitled Boards and Commissions: California's Hidden Government, which found that, “California's multi-level, complex governmental structure today includes more than 400 boards, commissions, authorities, associations, councils and committees. These plural bodies operate to a large degree autonomously and outside of the normal checks and balances of representative government.”
The Commission concluded that “the state's boards, commissions and similar bodies are proliferating without adequate evaluation of need, effectiveness and efficiency.”
Numerous other states have a sunset review function and have realized long term savings. In Texas, for example, its Sunset Advisory Commission created in 1978 saves $27 for each dollar spent on the Commission. Furthermore, total savings achieved by the Commission equals roughly 5% of the state's budget – in California 5% is $4 billion.
AB 1659 and AB 2130 were co-authored by Senator Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) and Assemblymember Roger Niello (R-Fair Oaks). The legislation was also supported by National Federation of Independent Businesses, California Taxpayers Association, California Manufacturers & Technology Association, California Grocers Association, Physical Therapy Board of California, California Forestry Association and California Framing Contractors Association.
“Since taking office I have been fighting to reform our state government and bring more accountability to how the government spends taxpayer money. These bills show that when Democrats and Republicans works together we can take steps in the right direction to achieving the change our state desperately needs,” concluded Huber.
For more information visit, www.asm.ca.gov/huber.