Report: Cost Estimates for Legislation Often Skewed

Charleston Gazette - West Virginia lawmakers are passing bills with inaccurate and biased estimates of how much the proposals will cost, and little is being done about it, according to a report released Tuesday. Read

Legislators often attach price tags, called "fiscal notes," to their bills. But agency officials who prepare the fiscal notes sometimes inflate expected costs to kill legislation they don't like -- or downplay costs if they want bills to pass, according to the report.

"As revenues continue to fall, it is increasingly important that legislators understand how proposed legislation will affect the budget," said Sean O'Leary, who prepared the report for the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy. "The state's current process for producing fiscal notes, however has led to biased, inaccurate and inconsistent information that legislators largely distrust."

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