In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL) has introduced versions of zero baseline budget legislation in the last several sessions of Congress, saying in 2015:
“We have to justify our existence every day in the private sector — changes to attitudes, trends. You have to adapt. Government doesn’t adapt. Instead it just incrementally adds on. We should be painfully honest with the American people, because it’s their money. When we do the budget process, we want to have some justification for every appropriation that is sought — a legal basis for it, an amount that is less than last year’s and a summary to express the outcome of it.”
Of Note: The federal government last used zero-based budgeting during the administration of former President Jimmy Carter,but the way its implementation was complex, time-consuming, and ultimately didn’t result in savings. As detailed in GovExec, the Carter administration used zero-based budgeting by requiring each agency to identify “decision units” in its budget, which created “decision packages” detailing proposed spending with four different funding levels. Managers then ranked those decision packages and advanced them up the bureaucracy for more review and prioritization. When the Reagan administration took office, they abandoned the practice.
Summary by Eric Revell(Photo Credit: Public Domain)