In the coming days and weeks, state lawmakers will begin the process of crafting a state budget. The passage of recent budgeting reforms by the General Assembly now help ensure an end to business as usual when it comes to how the state spends tax dollars.

No longer will the budgeting process start by taking the appropriations made to state agencies from last year and simply add more funds. These agencies will have to justify the need for all of their spending requests and learn how to do more with less than before.

Under the new budgeting process, the House Revenue Committee will be tasked with determining actual anticipated revenues that the state will be able to appropriate. When the Revenue Committee determines anticipated revenues, the House’ appropriations committees will be given a finite spending limit. In short, we can’t – and won’t – spend money that isn’t there.

As a member of the Revenue Committee, I will be in a unique position to help hold the line on state spending by acting as a fiscal watchdog over the House appropriations committees.

Just like a family that has to live on a budget, the state must also start to live within its means. Through my work on the Revenue Committee and in my other duties as state representative, I pledge to do everything I can to help pass a state budget that does more with less.

State Rep. Mike Zalewski (21st)