WV Center on Budget and Policy > Press > WVCBP in the News > Report: Fiscal Notes for West Virginia Legislation Flawed

Report: Fiscal Notes for West Virginia Legislation Flawed

November 15, 2013

Associated Press, Beckley Register-Herald, San Francisco Chronicle – The Legislature should change the way fiscal notes are prepared for legislation because these cost estimates are often inaccurate, biased and lacking in details, the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy said in a report. Read

These flaws stem from West Virginia’s lack of a formal process that includes defined criteria and proper oversight to ensure that fiscal notes are accurate and uniform, the report said.

Fiscal notes are estimates of the costs of legislation that are prepared by the state agencies responsible for carrying out the policies or programs created by the bills. There is no mechanism for the Legislature to independently verify cost estimates provided by agencies, the report said.

“Legislators have voiced concerns that agencies may be ‘gaming’ the fiscal note process either by inflating or underestimating the cost of legislation, which, in turn, can undermine or help the legislation’s chances of being approved,” the report’s author, Sean O’Leary, wrote.