ctnewsjunkie file photo
Lawmakers and staff on the House floor (ctnewsjunkie file photo)

HARTFORD, CT — When the legislature writes and passes a budget on the last day of the legislative session there are bound to be things included in it that just don’t make sense or were well-intended but didn’t have enough bipartisan support.

Earlier versions of the bipartisan budget would have required the Office of Policy and Management to hire a consultant to find $500 million in savings. There had been $100,000 allocated for that purpose, but that money was stripped at the last minute.

What does that mean?

It means the budget still requires the Office of Policy and Management to put the services out to bid.

“Sec. 57. (Effective from passage) (a) Not later than July 1, 2018, the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management shall develop and issue a request for proposals to hire a national consultant to study and make recommendations regarding efficiency improvements in revenue collection and agency expense management that will result in a savings of at least five hundred million dollars. Such recommendations shall not adversely impact program quality or social services program benefits.”

The RFP for what is now a free request for advice has not been advertised yet, but will be, according to a spokesman for the agency.

In addition, the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management will consult with the now defunct Commission on Fiscal Stability on their report, none of which was implemented, and then issue a report not later than February 1, 2019 to the “joint standing committees of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to appropriations and the budgets of state agencies and finance, revenue and bonding.”

Just to clarify there is not an additional $500 million hole in the budget as a result of the language. It was simply an attempt to get a head start on whittling down the $4.5 billion budget deficit the next governor and legislature will inherit when they are elected.

Because isn’t it easier to hire a consultant for free than do the job taxpayers elected you to do?

In addition, an earlier version of the budget bill would also have required the Office of Legislative Management to spend $100,000 to review the 2017 State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition agreement. However, that language was also removed from the final version, which means there will be no review of the agreement.