I recently returned from the 10th Annual Meeting of the Network of Parliamentary Budget Officials and Independent Fiscal Institutions, which is coordinated by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. The meeting was held in Seoul, Republic of Korea. It was ably chaired by Robert Chote, chairman of the United Kingdom’s Office for Budget Responsibility, and Chunsoon Kim, chief of Korea’s National Assembly Budget Office.
At the meeting, I talked about the budget process in the United States and about the Congressional Budget Office’s work to improve its responsiveness and enhance its transparency. My colleague Bob Sunshine talked about CBO’s analyses and projections of federal health care costs.
It was a delight to be able to share ideas, information, and experiences with colleagues from around the world who face some of the same challenges that CBO does. Many of them represented organizations that were established within the past several years. Particularly in the wake of the 2007–2008 financial crisis and the resulting fiscal pressures, more and more countries, encouraged by various international organizations, have recognized the value of having public and independent sources of high-quality budget and economic information. As a result, representatives from 36 countries participated in the meeting, many more than the 14 countries represented at the first such meeting in 2009. This year we had the opportunity to hear reports from some of the newest institutions—those in Brazil, the Czech Republic, Peru, and Slovenia.
Many institutions in other countries follow our work closely, viewing CBO as the standard for parliamentary budget offices, and each year a number of them send members of their staff to CBO to learn more about what we do and how we do it. We are delighted to be able to contribute, at least a little, to the development of these important institutions at meetings like this one and on other occasions during the year.
Keith Hall is CBO’s Director.