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BUDGET PROCESSES AND SYSTEMS

Budget Processes and Systems

There are many ways to approach drafting and states are learning the hard way that many of their attempts have been unsuccessful.  State Budget Solutions believes that zero-base budgeting is the solution. In its original form, it is a system of budgeting that begins every budget cycle at zero, rejecting any assumption that the activities that were funded in the last budget will continue in the coming one. It requires a rationale for each activity that will be funded for the new budget. It is intended to foster analysis of every activity, prioritization of budget activities, cost-effectiveness and economy.  This section has information on zero-base budgeting and also covers different aspects of the budget process, including annual versus biannual budgets.

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    • HEADLINES: Texas

      Voters to decide tapping Texas' rainy day fund

      The Houston Chronicle | by Chris Tomlinson | July 22, 2013

      A constitutional amendment is making its way through the Legislature this week that will ask voters to divert money from the state's rainy day fund for transportation.

    • HEADLINES: North Carolina

      How much does it cost to create state budget?

      ABC 11 Raleigh-Durham | by Jon Camp | July 12, 2013

      North Carolina lawmakers have yet to settle on a budget, and taxpayers are spending tens of thousands of dollars each day to keep the legislature running.

    • HEADLINES: Indiana

      Pence announces larger state budget surplus than expected

      WTHR.com | July 12, 2013

      The state's bottom line shows $483 million in the black. That is $93 million more than the budget bill projected. 

    • HEADLINES: Pennsylvania

      Final piece of state budget will go back to the state House, again

      The Pennsylvania Independent | by Eric Boehm | July 5, 2013

      The House has already headed home for the summer and will have to schedule a new session day later in July to deal with the bill.

    • HEADLINES: Oregon

      'Grand bargain' falls 1 vote short; blame game commences thereafter

      The Statesman Journal | July 3, 2013

      Not only did a "grand bargain" of tax increases and public-pension cuts crash Tuesday in the Oregon Senate, so did lawmakers' hopes for a quick end to their 2013 session today.

    • HEADLINES: Washington

      No state budget deal yet; government shutdown, layoffs loom

      The Seattle Times | by Mike Baker | June 24, 2013

      The Legislature failed to come up with a budget compromise over the weekend, layoff notices go out to state workers Monday and the state government is a week away from shutdown.

    • HEADLINES: Iowa

      Gov. Branstad issues vetoes slashing millions from Iowa's next state budget

      Des Moines Register | by Jason Noble | June 21, 2013

      With a flurry of vetoes issued late Thursday afternoon, Gov. Terry Branstad slashed more than $100 million in spending from the state’s next budget, sharply cutting back on plans for building renovations and boosting government pension plans.

    • HEADLINES: Wisconsin

      Assembly to start budget debate

      Wisconsin Radio Network | by Andrew Beckett | June 18, 2013

      Wisconsin's proposed two year state budget heads to the full Legislature today. The Assembly will be the first chamber to take up the bill, with the Senate expected to consider the measure later this week.

    • HEADLINES: California

      California Democrats wrap up state budget, flex supermajority power

      The Sacramento Bee | by David Siders and Jim Sanders | June 17, 2013

      As the state Senate finished voting Saturday on a bill to extend a tax on managed care plans, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg told reporters at the back of the room, "That is what's called a supermajority."

    • HEADLINES: Washington

      State agencies prepare for possible shutdown

      The Seattle Times | by Mike Baker | June 14, 2013

      Washington state agencies are working to identify which areas of government will need to cease operations if the Legislature fails to pass a budget over the next 18 days.


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    • RESEARCH: Delaware

      Delaware’s Public Employees’ Retirement System: A Complete and Transparent Accounting

      The Mercatus Center | by Eileen Norcross | March 21, 2013

      To be fully funded, Delaware must increase its annual contribution to the pension system based on a market valuation of plan liabilities. This paper analyzes Delaware’s pension system on a fair-market or government- guaranteed basis, with reference to the average US Treasury rate on 10- and 20-year bonds in June 2012. A discussion of the discrepancy between current government accounting conventions and the fair-market value approach and the implications for plan management follows.

    • RESEARCH

      Performances measurements used by states

      State Budget Solutions | March 18, 2013

      The accountability measurements identify societal goals and iterates specific means of achieving them. While many states list specific goals they want to attain and the means to measure the goals, there is still little accountability for failure to reach stated goals. The measures in place are primarily numerical. By comparing rates and statistics annually, each state can determine the success of the specific tactics used to attain the accountability measures. No states compare their own success with that of neighboring or similarly situated states.

    • RESEARCH

      Municipal Bankruptcy: An Overview for Local Officials

      This guide serves as an overview of the basics of municipal bankruptcy, and boils down the municipal bankruptcy process so that officials and citizens have a framework within which to discuss whether bankruptcy is a viable option. It outlines who, what, where and when, as well as costs and benefits.

    • RESEARCH

      Federal Aid to the States 2008-2011

      by Kristen De Pena | February 21, 2013

      It is well understood that the federal government must make spending cuts-these cuts will most likely drastically change the amount of federal dollars that are allocated to the states. Unfortunately for most states, dependence on federal funding has continually risen since 2008.

    • RESEARCH

      Forecasting the Recovery from the Great Recession: Is This Time Different?

      The National Bureau of Economic Research | by Kathryn Dominguez & Matthew Shapiro | February 4, 2013

      Was the slow recovery of the U.S. economy from the trough of the Great Recession anticipated? 

    • RESEARCH

      On Financing Retirement with an Aging Population

      The National Bureau of Economic Research | by Ellen McGrattan & Edward Prescott | February 4, 2013

      Alternative views on the problem the United States is facing: financing retirement consumption as its population ages.

    • RESEARCH

      Spring 2012 Fiscal Survey of States

      States will face particularly intense budgetary challenges in education and health care in fiscal 2013, putting pressure on all budget areas - including corrections and infrastructure. As budgets face strain from slow revenue growth and expenditure pressures, states will likely confront tough budgetary choices in the next fiscal year.

    • RESEARCH

      The Fiscal Health of U.S. States

      Mercatus Center | by Jeffrey Miron | August 15, 2011

      This paper examines the fiscal health of the 50 U.S. states. As this paper shows, accounting for implicit pension liabilities provides a significantly more negative picture than does explicit debt information on its own.

    • POLICY BRIEF

      Are Biennial Budgets Better?

      by Bryan Leonard | April 18, 2011

      The comparison of biennial and annual budgets recently made headlines thanks to Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, who vetoed a spending bill that only appropriated funds for one year and instead is insisting on bills that plan for two years of spending. Brandstad is adamant that a biennial budget is critical to creating responsibility, but are biennial budgets really so much better?

    • RESEARCH

      Annual and Biennial Budgeting: The Experience of State Governments

      The National Conference of State Legislatures | by Ronald K. Snell | April 14, 2011

      The trend among state governments for the past 70 years has been to abandon biennial budgeting for annual budgeting. Forty-four states practiced biennial budgeting in 1940. Twenty will do so in 2010, when Arkansas turns from biennial to annual budgeting (Arkansas is reported as an annual-budgeting state in this report in anticipation of the change). There are several reasons for the shift to annual budgeting, but in general the shift has been part of the resurgence of state legislative power since the middle of the century.

    • SOLUTIONS

      The State Budget Process for the Lay Person

      by Bob Williams | December 17, 2012

      An introduction to how the state budget process works and a glossary of terms used in the process.

    • SOLUTIONS

      How Reality-Based Budgeting Can Permanently Resolve State Budget Gaps

      State Budget Solutions | by Bob Williams | November 7, 2012

      State Budget Solutions recommends that state legislators take action in 2013 to resolve the serious state financial crises by changing their focus from inputs to outcomes by redesigning budgets from the ground up based on priorities and performance.

    • SOLUTIONS: North Carolina

      A Blueprint for Budget Reform

      Civitas Institute | by Brian Balfour | September 12, 2012

      The ongoing state budget "crisis" strongly underscores the urgent need for North Carolina to adapt significant state budget reforms, including putting North Carolina taxpayers back in charge of approving new debt, and forcing legislators and state agencies at reasonable intervals to justify all spending, not just spending increases.

    • SOLUTIONS: New Hampshire

      On Highways, The One Good Idea in Washington

      The Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy | by Charles M. Arlinghaus | December 7, 2011

      Highway spending in New Hampshire is not funded by general taxation. Our highway spending is supported entirely by user fees like the gas tax and turnpike tolls. So, if we're developing a real plan, let's start by figuring out how much money those fees will raise over the next ten years.

    • SOLUTIONS: Pennsylvania

      Reality-Based Budgeting

      Commonwealth Foundation | by Bob Williams, Matthew J. Brouillette | December 7, 2011

      This is the year to resolve Pennsylvania's serious financial crises by changing the budget focus from inputs to outcomes. In other words, legislators and the governor should junk the old conventional model and start designing a reality-based budget from the ground up based on priorities and performance.

    • SOLUTIONS: Virginia

      Focus on Results for Smarter Government Budgeting

      The Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy | by Leonard Gilroy | December 2, 2011

      The adoption of a priority based, or outcome-based budgeting system would help Virginia policymakers more easily identify the governmental activities most important to taxpayers and help make difficult trade-off and cost-benefit decisions.

    • SOLUTIONS: South Carolina

      The South Carolina state budget is a mystery. What can be done about it?

      The South Carolina Policy Council | December 2, 2011

      The South Carolina state budget should be more transparent. There should be one document showing the exact amount lawmakers appropriated in a given year and the budget should reveal where all money is coming from.  The budget should list every program each agency is running, how much that program is receiving, and a description of the program.

    • SOLUTIONS: Kansas

      A Budget Stabilization Plan for Kansas

      The Kansas Policy Institute | by Barry W. Poulson | November 29, 2011

      This study proposes a budget stabilization plan for Kansas, which is a rules-based approach to state budgeting. A tax-and-expenditure rule is linked to rules for the disposition of surplus revenue. Under a rules-based approach to budgeting, surplus revenue is used to meet emergencies, stabilize the budget over the business cycle and/or earmarked to fund one-time capital projects. Once those needs are met, remaining surplus revenue is returned to taxpayers in rebates or used to reduce tax rates.

    • SOLUTIONS: Minnesota

      New Budget Tools for a Balanced Minnesota

      Center of the American Experiement | November 29, 2011

      To keep the state budget in balance over the long term, Minnesota must better manage the spending side of the ledger.  Over the past 40 years, total state expenditures from all funds increased at double-digit rates in all but four biennia.  To control spending, Minnesota must adopt bold new budget tools and processes.

    • SOLUTIONS: Wisconsin

      Ten Ways the Budget Could Be Better

      The MacIver Institute | November 29, 2011

      The state government should refrain from onerous interference into the private market and limit pork, and here are 10 suggesitons for doing so.


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