Florida’s Senate president, Jeff Atwater, R-Palm Beach, has announced the creation of a new Senate Budget Office to provide greater oversight of legislative expenditures.

The SBO will report to the chair of the Senate Ways and Means Policy Steering Committee and will provide independent analyses of state agency operations, including overlapping agency jurisdictions and functions, the financial structure of agencies, sources and uses of revenue, expenditure patterns, and whether programmatic performance measures exist and are being met.

“Comprehensive analyses of state government and its operations are critical to sound budgetary decision making,” said Sen. J.D. Alexander, R-Lake Wales, who chairs the ways and means committee. “Although individual state agencies are directed to recommend agency-specific reductions to the Legislature, there is no single office responsible for an impartial and unbiased budgetary review of Florida’s governmental agencies.”

Atwater said that eventually he wanted the Legislature to explore the concept of expanding the SBO into a model similar to the Congressional Budget Office.

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