Governor Lynch opened the public hearing on agency spending requests by commenting on the current economic climate nationally, and by reminding the audience of the shortfall of at least $75 million left over from the current biennium.
"These are extremely challenging times, both for our state and our nation," Lynch said. "In crafting our next two year budget, our priorities must be protecting our most vulnerable citizens and protecting public safety."
Lynch has already requested that each agency use "zero-based" budgeting, rather than simply tacking new requests onto their current services. He has asked each department to submit budgets 3% lower than current levels for FY10, and level funded for FY11. This would require reductions of $75 million, or 18.7%, from today's requests.
Lynch will accept formal requests from 44 agencies and departments between now and December 1, which he will then use to craft his official budget submission to the Legislature. The University System leads things off this afternoon. The hearings continue Monday, November 24th, Tuesday, November 25th, and Monday, December 1st, all beginning at 9am.