U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross (FL-15) introduced the Zero-Based Budgeting Ensures Responsible Oversight Act (ZERO Act) yesterday in the U.S. House of Representatives. This bill requires agency and department managers to justify and approve every line item on their budget each year, rather than just make slight changes to the previous year's budget.
"With $16 trillion of debt, we must take all measures possible to eliminate egregious government spending and ensure that hard-earned taxpayer dollars are spent wisely," said Ross. "The Zero-Based Budgeting Ensures Responsible Oversight Act will require agency and department managers to justify every line on their budget each year."
- The ZERO Act requires every department and agency of the federal government to:
1. Provide a description of each activity that requires an appropriation from Congress
2. Cite to Congress the legal basis under which they may lawfully receive an appropriation
3. Offer three alternative funding levels
4. Provide a summary of the cost effectiveness and efficiency to the taxpayer for each activity that requires an appropriation from Congress
- Zero-based budgeting puts every cost on the table to be reviewed for relevancy and effectiveness each year.
- Zero-based budgeting has been used as a tool in the private and public sectors to curb inflation and identify waste. According to a study by Canada's Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA), traditional budgeting methods have declined in the past few years and zero-based budgeting practices are increasing in public offices.
- Zero-Based Budgeting was used by the federal government in the 1970s.
- Zero-based budgeting was also suggested under Section II of the Simpson-Bowles plan when referring to tax expenditures and tax credits.
- The bill number is H.R. 239.