Blind Bets: Fiscal Analysis Lacking on Revenue Bills

December 20th, 2013

During the 2013 legislative session, legislators enacted a number of new tax breaks.  Whether you agree or disagree with the policy objectives behind granting these tax breaks, they must be weighed against their costs.  Unfortunately, many of the tax breaks passed lacked any fiscal analysis to inform lawmakers during the legislative decision making process.  

In 2012, the legislature enacted a law requiring fiscal notes to be made public on the legislature’s website.  A fiscal note is an analysis on how a bill will raise state funds, or cause a decrease in state revenue.   Unfortunately, not a single revenue bill approved by the legislature this year included this analysis even though there were 22 bills passed that will likely have a revenue effect.   In fact, there were no fiscal notes posted for any bill that was passed all session long. 

Policy makers, advocates, and the public, should have adequate data on the costs of such proposed bills that affect revenue collections before making a decision about whether to support or oppose.  With adequate information on costs, policy makers may compare these proposals against other legislative priorities.

-Sara Miller, senior policy analyst

Sara head shot

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