Lawmaker plans reform legislation
This year's budget process is unprecedented, but not just because we faced a historic economic downturn that resulted in a massive deficit. The budget was 101 days late.

The legislature worked hard to get a budget agreement, but partisanship and stubbornness get in the way. Because of disagreements, the public and critical state programs and services suffered.

I intend to introduce legislation that requires elected officials and cabinet members -- specifically, legislators, the governor and cabinet secretaries -- to forfeit pay if a budget is not passed by June 30. We all work hard, but this budget and others have shown that something is needed to achieve a timely resolution.

The constitution requires us to have a balanced budget on time every year, and my legislation would provide additional safeguards to make sure that happens.

For every day the budget is late, these officials would forfeit a proportional amount of their pay. This means that when a budget is passed after June 30 we would not receive back pay. Instead, the pay would be forfeited and returned to the general fund.

The best way to ensure timely passage of a budget is to tie legislators' pay to the budget deadline. I'm confident that this measure will ensure a timely budget.

State Sen. Mike Stack