Minnesota Management & Budget is required by Minnesota Statute 3.98 to coordinate the fiscal analysis of certain bill introduced during a legislative session. This analysis takes the form of a "fiscal note." A fiscal note estimates the costs, savings, revenue gain, or loss resulting from the implementation of proposed legislation.
After a bill is introduced, the chair of a legislative committee to which a bill is referred may request that a fiscal note be prepared on the proposed legislation. A fiscal note request is transmitted to Minnesota Management & Budget who assigns it to a state agency or agencies that can best determine the fiscal impact. For example, when the Vehicle Emissions bill was introduced during the 1995 legislative session, the Departments of Public Safety and Pollution Control were assigned to prepare the fiscal note.
As part of its duties as coordinator of the fiscal note process, Minnesota Management & Budget through executive budget officers reviews agency fiscal notes for accuracy and content. After Minnesota Management & Budget review, the fiscal note is presented to the legislature and becomes an integral part of the decision making process.
The fiscal note process is entirely automated as part of Minnesota Management & Budget Budget Information System. Fiscal note requests are electronically transmitted from the legislature to Minnesota Management & Budget through a component called the Fiscal Note Tracking System (FNTS). These requests are then assigned and transmitted to agencies through FNTS. After information is entered into the system by an agency, all users, including Minnesota Management & Budget, other agencies, and legislative staff can view it. Once a fiscal note is entered and reviewed, the final fiscal note is distributed to the legislature by e-mail.
Quick turn around time and access to information is imperative during a legislative session. FNTS offers several advantages in this regard: it provides a centralized standard format for agencies to use when preparing fiscal notes, it allows on-line review by Minnesota Management & Budget, it tracks progress of a fiscal note through completion, and it transmits completed fiscal notes to the legislature quickly by e-mail.