State Rep. Jerome “Dee” Richard believes he may have found a way in which to cut into the state budget deficit to the tune of about half-a-billion dollars.
HB-73 by Richard would require a 10 percent reduction in the total dollar amount for professional, personal and consulting service contracts under the jurisdiction of the Office of Contractual Review (OCR) for Fiscal Year 2013-14.
The proposed law also would require the OCR to submit reports on the status of the implementation of the law to the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget on Oct. 1, 2013, Jan., April 1 and July 1 of 2014.
It also would require that the OCR director to submit a monthly report to the House Appropriations Committee summarizing all contracts and dollar values awarded the previous month.
The Legislative Fiscal Office (LFO) said the annual report of the OCR released in January of this year showed there were 2,284 professional, personal and consulting contracts with the state with a combined contract value of approximately $5.28 billion.
The LFO said the bill would result in an “indeterminable decrease” in overall state expenditures in FY-14. “To the extent this bill would have been enacted during the 2012 regular legislative session, the projected 10 percent reduction in the value of OCR approved professional, personal and consulting services contracts for FY-13 would have equated to approximately $528 million less,” the LFO’s fiscal notes said.
Richard’s bill would allow exceptions but only if certain conditions were met, namely:
• There were no state employees available or capable of performing the needed work;
• Required services are not available as a product of a prior or existing contract;
• There be a written plan to monitor and evaluate performance of the contract;
• The proposed contract would be determined to be a priority expenditure by the Commissioner of Administration.
Such a reduction, should it be approved and implemented, would help close a gaping budget hole of hundreds of millions of dollars for the state.