Office of Fiscal Analysis Connecticut General Assembly Office of Fiscal Analysis Office of Fiscal Analysis
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1.  What is the Office of Fiscal Analysis?

The Office of Fiscal Analysis (OFA) is the nonpartisan fiscal research and analysis office for the Connecticut General Assembly. OFA was created in 1973 to provide a source of fiscal information and analysis that both Democrats and Republicans could rely on as unbiased and independent.

2.  How is OFA organized?

OFA is organized into four units. Each unit has a supervisory analyst and four to five analysts within it. Each analyst is assigned to a group of budgeted state agencies, accounts, or revenue area.

3.  What kinds of things does OFA do?

OFA primarily provides support for the Appropriations and Finance committees but also assists in staffing (along with the Office of Legislative Research and the Legislative Commissioner's Office) the 24 other legislative standing committees. Specifically, OFA is statutorily charged with the following, pursuant to CGS 2-71c:

(1)  Reviewing department and program operating budget requests;

(2)  analyzing and helping to establish priorities with regard to capital programs;

(3)  checking executive revenue estimates for accuracy;

(4)  recommending potential untapped sources of revenue;

(5)  assisting in legislative hearings and helping to schedule and prepare the agenda of such hearings;

(6)   assisting in the development of means by which budgeted programs can be periodically reviewed;

(7)  preparing short analyses of the costs and long-range projections of executive programs and proposed agency regulations;

(8)  keeping track of federal aid programs to make sure that Connecticut is taking full advantage of opportunities for assistance;

(9)  reviewing, on a continuous basis, departmental budgets and programs;

(10)  analyzing and preparing critiques of the Governor's proposed budget;

(11)  studying, in depth, selected executive programs during the interim;

(12)  performing such other services in the field of finance as may be requested by the Joint Committee on Legislative Management;

(13)  preparing the fiscal notes, required under section 2-24, upon favorably reported bills which require expenditure of state or municipal funds or affect state or municipal revenue;

(14)  preparing at the end of each fiscal year a compilation of all fiscal notes on legislation and agency regulations taking effect in the next fiscal year, including the total costs, savings and revenue effects estimated in such notes; and

(15)  every second and fourth year after the effective date of each enacted bill, review the fiscal note of such bill to compare it to the fiscal note prepared at the time such bill was enacted.

4.  What is OFA's role in the budget process?

Prior to the Governor's budget address in February, OFA reviews state agency budget requests and formulates estimates of agency budgetary needs. Once the Governor's budget recommendations are released, OFA analyzes the recommendations and assists the Appropriations and Finance committees in developing their own recommendations. Later, OFA assists legislative leadership in developing final budget and tax proposals. Click here for more detail on the process.

5.  What is a fiscal note?

A fiscal note is a brief statement of the fiscal impact that a piece of legislation would have on state and local government. The economic or social impact of the legislation is not included. See our Fiscal Note Compilation page and click on the link for the most recent fiscal note compilation to view various examples of fiscal notes.

6.  When does OFA prepare fiscal notes?

A fiscal note is required on every bill that is approved by a committee or that reaches the floor of the House or Senate. It is also required on all amendments.

7.  How long does it take for a fiscal note to get posted on the web once it is completed?

It depends on the type of legislation. Bill: If the fiscal note relates to a bill it will be publicly available on the Internet once the files are printed (usually within 24 hours). Note: The printed document containing the bill, fiscal note and bill analysis is known as 'the file.' Emergency Certification Bill: A fiscal note on an Emergency Certification bill appears much sooner, usually within 20 minutes from the time it is processed in OFA. This shortened timeframe is possible since these bills are not printed as 'files' and therefore are not subject to lengthier processing. Amendment: A fiscal note on an amendment that has been filed with the clerk of either the House or the Senate will appear in approximately 5 minutes from the time it is finalized in OFA.

8.  What does OFA not do?

OFA does not:

(1)   provide legal opinions;

(2)   conduct research or analysis for the media, lobbyists or students' papers;

(3)   ask questions or give testimony at public hearings;

(4)   prepare fiscal notes on proposed bills or bills that have not been favorably reported (approved) by a committee (Note: we can prepare informal estimates when requested in certain cases); or

(5)   participate directly in floor debates.

9.  How can I obtain information from OFA?

You can:

(1)   call the main phone number at (860) 240-0200;

(2)   sign up here to receive e-mail notices when new OFA reports are placed on our website;

(3)   e-mail us at ofa@cga.ct.gov; or

(4)   write or visit us at:

Office of Fiscal Analysis
Legislative Office Building, Room 5200
Hartford, CT 06106-1591

You can also contact the analyst directly.  See the staff assignments by general issue area or by agency on our website for further information and individual e-mail addresses.

10.  As a legislator or staff member, is there anything I should know when I ask for information?

Yes, try to frame your question as specifically as possible. Providing some background on what you hope to receive from us will help us provide you with what you expect. Poorly defined questions can yield results that do not meet your needs and can delay the completion of your request.

11.  How long will it take to get an answer?

The normal turn-around time is two weeks. Two weeks usually gives us enough time to produce a quality result. If it is a complex request, or we have encountered difficulties during our analysis, we will contact you and explain the need for more time. For some requests, a response may be produced in less than two weeks. This is especially true when we have the information in-house or the request is not complex. But it is important to bear in mind that as our preparation time is reduced, the chances of a complete and accurate response are also decreased.

12.  Is my request with OFA confidential?

Yes. We understand that our relationship with legislators and caucus staff may sometimes give us confidential information and our role may sometimes place us in a position between parties with different viewpoints, but our duty is to provide objective, unbiased information and service. We do not advocate policy positions on any issue before the General Assembly or attempt to influence the outcome of any legislation.

13.  Are OFA reports publicly available?

Yes. Reports that are produced on a routine and periodic basis are publicly available within two days of completion. Reports on specific topics that are prepared at legislative request become public three days after the requestor receives the original.

14.  Where can I find copies of OFA reports?

Our major reports are available on our website Subject Reports page. Try our Search feature to find specific documents. Hardcopies of these and other reports are available by contacting our office.

15.  What kind of information is available from OFA?

We routinely produce a range of reports on statewide budgetary issues such as budgetary projections and a year-end analysis of the state's major funds, but our most requested item is our annual budget book publication. Click here to view the state budgets.

16.  How do I easily navigate within the PDF publications on your website?

When a PDF document opens, you will be presented with an Adobe toolbar. Use the "Find" box to easily search for words within the PDF document.

 

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