State Budget Reform Toolkit Released

I’m pleased to announce that the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) released the State Budget Reform Toolkit today. The Toolkit—a joint project of ALEC, Reason Foundation, Americans for Tax Reform, The Mercatus Center at George Mason University, Washington Policy Center, Evergreen Freedom Foundation and State Budget Solutions—offers a practical set of budget, management and procurement best practices to guide state policymakers as they work to solve persistent budget deficits and streamline their state governments.

Per ALEC’s press release:

State legislators agree that the need to reform state budgets is more vital than ever before. As federal stimulus funds recede, states will grapple with even larger budgeting gaps. States need innovative budgeting strategies to address these new economic challenges—without resorting to economically damaging tax increases. […]

“This new ALEC publication will be a vital resource for America’s legislators who are interested in real budget reform and taxpayer protection,” said Indiana Senator Jim Buck, public sector chair of ALEC’s Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force.

Eight nationally acclaimed authors provide more than 20 recommendations for legislators looking to modernize state budgeting, improve budget transparency, control costs, and improve government efficiency. Utilizing ALEC model legislation, the toolkit will assist legislators in prioritizing and more efficiently delivering core government services.

“Over the last decade, state and local spending growth outpaced the private sector by nearly 90 percent. The business-as-usual approach is clearly not sustainable for states who wish to remain financially solvent,” said Jonathan Williams, Director of ALEC’s Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force.

By following the policies suggested in the State Budget Reform Toolkit, lawmakers can make informed decisions and build a solid budget focused on delivering the best results for taxpayers and users of government services.

The Toolkit presents over 20 policy tools—many familiar subjects here at Reason—including:

  • Priority-Based Budgeting/Budgeting for Outcomes;
  • Privatization and Competitive Contracting;
  • State Pension Reform;
  • State Tax and Spending Limitations;
  • Performance Assessment and Management;
  • Budget Transparency;
  • Sunset Review Processes for State Agencies, Boards, and Commissions;
  • State Privatization and Efficiency Councils;
  • Statewide Real Property Inventories;
  • and many more.

Having served as managing editor of this report alongside ALEC’s Jonathan Williams, it is my hope that state policymakers open this valuable toolbox and start using these tools to help right the fiscal ship, improve public sector management and the stewardship of taxpayer dollars, and better position their states for a successful economic recovery.

The full Toolkit is available here, or at Also be sure to visit Reason Foundation’s government reform and privatization research archives for more policy tools and ideas to lower costs and improve public services.