Budget reform requirements intend to make government more understandable to the public, improve productivity and customer service, and strengthen accountability for results. Implementation of these requirements, first enacted in 1993, is now well underway. The process is evolutionary and challenges both agency managers and policy makers. These reform efforts help create better alignment of the State's planning, quality, budgeting, management, and accounting systems.
Laws 1993, Chapter 252 (H.B. 2332) established budget reforms. Budget reforms included: bifurcated budgeting with definition of the major budget units, established administrative costs, required three-year strategic plans from the budget units, amended appropriations reporting, and established the Program Area Review (PAR) process with a specific listing of programs for PAR review.
Laws 1995, Chapter 283 (H.B. 2444) amended the PAR process by updating the list of PAR programs, added the requirement for three-year strategic plans for each program and subprogram in the list of programs, and included performance measures in both the budget unit (agency) and program plans. Arizona School for the Deaf and Blind was added to the listing of major budget units.
Laws 1996, Chapter 342 & 13 (H.B. 2440) established the Government Information Technology Agency (GITA) and requires budget units to develop, implement and maintain a coordinated statewide plan for information technology. GITA coordinates these plans.
Laws 1997, Chapter 210, (H.B. 2082) converted all budget units into a biennial cycle anticipating that the major emphasis of the first regular session of each Legislature would be budgetary review and approval, while program evaluations and PARs would be conducted during the second regular session. These laws also further amended the PAR process by specifying the Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC) shall select programs for SPAR review and that budget units may be required to develop joint assessments. These laws further established program budgeting with the deadline of fiscal year 2006 for completion of a phased in approach for all budget units.
Laws 1999, Chapter 148, (S.B. 1365) replaced the PAR process with a Strategic Planning Area Review (SPAR) process that culminates in the decision to retain, eliminate, or modify a program area based on findings contained in an agency-authored self assessment and information from the plans.
Most recently, Laws 2002, Chapter 210, (S.B. 1436) has further changed the planning process slightly by distinguishing between long-range planning (strategic) and short-range planning (operational) tied to budget cycles and performance measures. Some of the highlights of this law are: