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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: Pennsylvania

      Two parties, two state budget plans

      Philly.com | by Angela Couloumbis | June 4, 2013

      Both sides have said they expect an on-time budget, but political reality may dictate otherwise.

    • HEADLINES: New York

      Less spent to battle budget

      The Albany Times Union | by Jimmy Vielkind | June 3, 2013

      The amount of money spent on lobbying in New York State during the first four months of this year has dropped significantly, a Times Union analysis of disclosure reports found.

    • HEADLINES: Maine

      State budget debate comes down to income tax

      WCSH-6 | by Don Carrigan | May 31, 2013

      The decision on a new state budget in Maine may come down to a debate over the income tax.

    • HEADLINES: Illinois

      Democrats forge $35 billion state budget

      The Chicago Tribune | by Monique Garcia and Rick Pearson | May 29, 2013

      The Democrats who run state government forged an estimated $35 billion spending plan Tuesday that would keep education funding flat, pay for promised state worker raises and cut programs for seniors.

    • HEADLINES: Pennsylvania

      State budget talks to heat up in Harrisburg

      The Morning Call | by Steve Esack | May 29, 2013

      House Republicans on Wednesday will introduce a 2013-14 budget that is $100 million less than Gov. Tom Corbett had proposed in February. 

    • HEADLINES: Ohio

      Ohio Senate to unveil new version of state budget

      The Plain Dealer | by Brandon Blackwell | May 28, 2013

      The Ohio Senate on Tuesday is expected to introduce its own version of the budget, which could veer from the disparate approaches taken earlier this year by the House and Gov. John Kasich.

    • HEADLINES: Washington

      Sides still far apart in 'glacial' budget talks

      The Olympian | by Mike Baker and Rachel La Corte | May 26, 2013

      State staffers researching options if deal not met by end of biennium June 30

    • HEADLINES: Wisconsin

      State budget panel OKs residency rule based on distance

      The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | by Don Walker, Patrick Marley and Jason Stein | May 10, 2013

      Joint Finance Committee also votes on measures on streetcar, taxes, prohibition of soda bans.

    • HEADLINES: Georgia

      Deal signs $19.9 billion budget for fiscal 2014

      Atlanta Journal-Constitution | by James Salzer | May 8, 2013

      Gov. Nathan Deal Tuesday morning signed a $19.9 billion budget for the coming year that increases spending $600 million but doesn’t provide cost-of-living raises for the state’s 200,000 employees and teachers. The state budget includes spending cuts in nearly every department, from agriculture to technical colleges but also funnels millions more into k-12 education and public health care.

    • HEADLINES: Wisconsin

      Debate: School voucher issue on its own bill vs. within state budget

      Fox6now.com | by Mike Lowe | May 6, 2013

      Does the school voucher debate belong on its own bill, or within the state budget? The Wisconsin Senate's top Democrat is demanding a stand-alone bill, but Gov. Walker calls that idea "ridiculous."


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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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