Legislation or Statute:
Prioritize Project Funding Requests
Part of the role of WaTech is to identify and promote high value technology projects, to ensure these projects are funded and implemented. This is the focus of Phase two - the prioritization of project funding requests.
State technology projects can be funded in three different ways:
- State General Fund or Transportation Funds: The most traditional funding approach is for an agency to request new state funding through the biennial or supplemental budget process. Funding can be provided in any of the three state budgets (general fund, transportation or capital, although funding technology through the capital budget is rare).
- Other Funding Sources: Agencies may have access to other sources of funds -bonds or Certificate of Participation (COP), dedicated fee revenues, central service allocations, grants or federal funding, for example. In many cases (but not all) expenditure of these funds require a grant of authority from the Legislature.
- Repurposed Maintenance and Operations (M&O) funds: Agencies also use existing M&O funds to pay for smaller projects. This approach to funding would not require legislative approval.
Regardless of funding approach, all major IT projects must be approved by WaTech prior to implementation. The approval process is discussed in Phase 3.
Formal project funding prioritization occurs on an annual basis, as part of the state's biennial and supplemental budget building activities. The Governor and the Legislature look to WaTech to provide guidance on whether a project's technical approach is sound and consistent with the state's IT strategy, and to provide a prioritization of projects to guide policy decisions on the allocation of limited state funds.
WaTech establishes prioritization criteria in response to current state business needs and changing technologies. These are published annually as part of the OFM budget instructions to ensure that agencies have a clear understanding of the values that projects will be evaluated against. WaTech evaluates agency funding requests (received in the form of decision packages) against those values and establishes a priority ranking of all funding requests. The resulting prioritized list of project funding requests is submitted to both the Governor's office and the Legislature.
The criteria will be refined and made available to agencies early in the budget development process so agencies can use them when developing their projects and preparing their decision packages.