Dale Davenport had an excellent editorial in the Patriot over the weekend, noting how annual budgeting and the move to a full-time, professional legislature altereed Pennsylvania’s state budget forever:
But the nature of government itself has changed, too.
That year, 1963, was the first for an annual Pennsylvania budget.
Before then, budgets spanned two years, which meant that only one budget was required of each two-year session of the Legislature.
Consequently, legislators spent months in their districts, where nearly all maintained a nongovernmental career.
Having to be in Harrisburg each year for a budget battle soon changed priorities for individual members.
By the mid-1970s, many claimed the General Assembly to be their full-time employer, and they demanded to be compensated accordingly.
The Commonwealth Foundation has echoed similar observations – case in point, Matt Brouillette and Joe Stern’s commentary on reforming the budget process.