What steps are made in making the decision as to whether a budget will be approved or not?

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The decision as to whether a budget will be approved or rejected usually depends upon similar factors in local, state, and national government. Even school districts have a budget process in place, and specific steps are taken as to whether a budget is adopted or rejected every year.

National level.

1)The President submits a budget request to Congress.

2)Both houses of Congress pass budget resolutions.

3)House and Senate appropriations sub-committees mark-up appropriations bills. Appropriations bills determine how much money can be spent on any federal program. A mark-up refers to how these committees debate, change, or rewrite the proposed bill.

4)House and Senate vote on appropriations bills and try to reconcile differences.

5)The president signs each appropriations bill and the budget becomes law.

For the national level, the above are the steps taken to determine whether a budget will be approved or rejected.

State level.

As an example, let's look at California and how the state budget is approved or rejected. Here's a flowchart which makes it easier to see the step-by step budget approval process.

1)State departments prepare baseline budgets and Budget Change Proposals (BCP). Both are submitted to the state Department of Finance.

2)The state Department of Finance reviews, analyzes, and adjusts the BCPs and baseline budgets to align with the Governor's policy priorities.

3)The state Dept. of Finance then prepares a balanced expenditure plan for the Governor's approval.

4)Upon the governor's approval, the Governor's budget is released to the Legislature in January.

5)The governor gives a State of the State address to the legislature. Two identical budget bills are submitted, one to the Assembly and one to the Senate.

6)Input from the public and state departments begin. The non-partisan Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO) testifies before sub-committees.

7)The Senate and Assembly committees review, analyze, and revise their budget bills.

8)A simple majority vote for each bill is attempted on the Assembly Floor and Senate Floor.

9)An attempt is made to reconcile differences in the Budget Conference Committee.

10)If no compromise can be reached, the Governor, Speaker of the Assembly, Senate president pro-tempore, and the Minority Leaders from both houses meet to compromise to get a simple majority vote in both houses.

11)The final budget package is sent to the Governor for his signature. At this point, the governor may still limit, change, or eliminate any appropriation through the line-item veto.

Local level, for example a school budget. As an example, we'll look at the Baltimore public school system.

1)Sources of revenue for Baltimore schools are largely the federal government, state government (Maryland) and the city of Baltimore. This first stage involves state, city, and school districts drawing up an initial budget.

2)Funding is tentatively allocated to schools based on projected enrollment figures for the coming school year.

3)School districts issue revenue and expense projections to principals of schools.

4)Principals convene with their school committees to discuss the budget allocations.

5)Principals then submit their budgets to the district offices, which approves or rejects the budgets.

6)Throughout the summer, revisions to the budget are made as updated enrollment numbers come in. Principals are kept apprised of new updates to enrollment numbers.

7)Final budget allocations are made based on Sept 30 official enrollment figures.

As you can see from the examples above, every budget process involves initial proposals, discussions/debates regarding initial budget allocations, attempts to reconcile differences, and finally, the adoption of a universally agreed budget.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
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