The obvious scapegoat is the budget shortfall. But some things, in theory anyway, ought to have a higher priority. And the ability to research before you make legislation would seem like one. Just one stupid mistake because the legislature didn't have good research on a new bill, could wipe out whatever savings this makes. [I have to note that, yes, the price of oil dropped, cutting a big chunk of state revenues. But we also have $50 billion in the Permanent Fund and monies in other reserve funds. And our legislative majority have no interest in raising new revenue. Their only interest seems to be cutting.]
But there are also questions about the efficiency of the agency and of the efficiency of how it is used by the legislature. How many legislators use the office? Are a few taxing its limits while others never use it? How much does the average report cost? How have the reports been used to help the legislature make good decisions?
I couldn't find any good tables that listed any of that information. The best I could find was a list of reports with short summaries for the 2015 Fiscal Year. (July 1, 2014 - June 30, 2015.) To find out who requested the report, you have to click on each report. Didn't have time for that today. I did have time to post a copy of the list of summaries at SCRBD and below.
The overview divides the reports into 15 categories.
- Criminal & Civil Justice
- Employment and Labor
- Energy Production and Consumption
- Health Care
- Natural Resources<
- Public Finance
- Social Services
When I blogged the legislature in 2010, I spent a fair amount of time over at Legislative Affairs, getting reports. These folks are good and impartial. As much as some might think that in this fact-free political era, that legislators might not want a lot of facts interfering with their ideology. I doubt that's true of most legislators.