Two days before the legislative session kicks off, Senate and House leaders formally announced Monday the ways they planned to improve the budget process.
They are lofty goals: Give legislators at least 24 hours to review the budget before having to vote, start negotiating on the budget earlier and complete the compromise budget days before the session ends.
All of them — and many more — have long been part of the rules for the General Assembly, though the legislature rarely, if ever, abides by them.
“The process is somewhat flawed at the moment,” acknowledged Sen. Walter A. Stosch (R-Henrico), who is expected to be named chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.
This year, they insist, will be different.
They plan to start talking about goals when session starts, begin the negotiation process immediately after each chamber adopts its budget, adopt a formal agenda in advance for each meeting of budget negotiators and vote on the budget the last day of session.
We’ll keep you posted as the process goes on.