House Communications - News
8/25 Haefner ready to take the reins of Fiscal Oversight committee
The next chairperson has been named for a House committee that deliberates on whether the state can afford the legislation the chamber is considering.
St. Louis Republican Marsha Haefner has been named chairwoman of the House Committee on Fiscal Review. That committee reviews legislation that would cost the state more than $100,000 or reduces state revenue by more than $100,000 in any of the three fiscal years after it would become law.
Haefner has served on the House Budget Committee for six years and has chaired the Appropriations Committee for Health, Mental Health, and Social Services.
She emphasized the role of Fiscal Oversight in making sure tax dollars are spent wisely, and said the committee under her leadership will,
“look very different this year than it has in the recent past. It will no longer be a pass-through for legislation.”
“When I did some research on this I found that just in last year’s session alone, through legislation that had fiscal notes that weren’t even tied to the budget, [the Fiscal Review Committee] passed over $1-billion dollars of general revenue in legislation that contained fiscal notes,” said Haefner. “That just can’t happen.”
Haefner said the legislature should have a clear plan for what its priorities are and what it’s willing to spend on those in a given session. That could mean some lawmakers will have to back off of priorities.
“But I think that’s going to make legislature more accountable for what they’re asking for,” said Haefner. “I hear comments all the time, ‘Well it’s only $3-million dollars,’ or ‘It’s only $1-million. I don’t see why we can’t just do this.’ Well, it’s hard finding $1-million for community mental health in St. Louis. If you don’t really get down into the day-to-day budget process and realize how hard it is to find even $1-million here or there, I don’t think you really understand that only $1-million or $2-million is a big ask sometimes.”
“I hope that everybody understands that, number one, this isn’t personal, and secondly, that we’re just trying to do the best job we can for everyone, not just certain interests here and there,” said Haefner.
Haefner said she is grateful to House Speaker Todd Richardson (R-Poplar Bluff) for the appointment.
“I’m honored that he’s put this much trust in me and that he thinks that I can handle the adversity that’s going to be inevitable with this process,” said Haefner. “I feel really good about it and that I will have a relevant position when it comes to the budgeting process.”
She will begin in her new role when the 2017 legislative session begins in January.
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