Legislature Begins 2020 Budget Development

By Ardith Van Riper

     Each year, the Legislature must enact an appropriations bill for the Ho-Chunk Nation in accordance with the Constitution. The process is outlined in the Appropriation and Budget Process Act (2HCC§4).

     The budget development process begins with an analysis of the previous year of income generation, all expenses, and establishing funding priorities for the upcoming fiscal year. The Nation’s enterprises submit a proposed budget to the Legislature’s Finance Committee by January 15 each year.

     The Finance Committee then works with the Executive branch to provide budget projections and enact spending limits by February 15. Those spending limits help the branches and departments determine a budget along with priorities which are then due back to the Finance Committee by the last business day of March.

     Throughout the month of April and up to May 15, the Finance Committee will begin assembling the appropriations bills complete with the funding amounts, justifications, narratives and details. If the Finance Committee cannot submit the proposed budget prior to May 15, the Legislature may adopt a Continuing Resolution, which will allow the Nation to operate current programs and services for up to 60 days into the following fiscal year.

     The full Legislature will adopt the annual appropriations bills within 15 days following the Finance Committees appropriations recommendations. Once adopted, the branches and departments will follow the budgets to ensure fiscal responsibility and integrity within the Nation.