Today’s hearing on HB 72, the Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act of 2011 (usually BRFA, pronounced “bur-fah”), represents the House Appropriations Committee’s broad-based legislation to enact a balanced budget. Because the budget bill itself cannot amend state laws or effect provisions lasting beyond its own fiscal year, the BRFA makes the changes to law, both short term an long, to implement the budget plan. The hearing today, held in the expansive Joint Hearing Room, saw a packed house audience listening to a lengthy list of bill provisions and staff-suggested changes, even before hearing public comments from the multitude of affected parties.
Secretary T. Eloise Foster of the Department of Budget and Management presented the bill, and detailed its many provisions. The Department of Legislative Services then presented its own analysis if the bill, along with a number of recommendations arising from agency budget reviews that would require BRFA language to take effect.
MACo President and Howard County Executive Ken Ulman was joined by Executive Director Michael Sanderson in delivering testimony on the BRFA, highlighting county fiscal challenges and the substantial role of county cuts/shifts in budget reconciliation already in place, and those contemplated in this year’s BRFA bill.