Practical Government Budgeting

A Workbook for Public Managers

By Susan L. Riley & Peter W. Colby

Subjects: Public Administration
Series: SUNY series in Public Administration
Paperback : 9780791403921, 154 pages, November 1990

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Table of contents




1 How to Read a Government Budget

Why You Need to Understand Your Government Budget

How this chapter will be useful


Reading and Understanding the Budget

Three types of budgets

Three types of funds

Elements of a budget document

Exercise: Reading the Annual Budget Document


2 Coping With the Budget Process

Preparing the Budget

How this chapter will be useful


The Budget Process

The phases of the budget cycle

The formal system

Agency needs: Building budgets rationally

External impacts on agency budgets

Exercise: Mastering the Budget Process

Step one: Homework

Step two: Role Play

Step three: Assessments



3 Budgeting for Personal Services

Preparing an Agency Personnel Budget

How this chapter will be useful


Preparing a Budget for Personal Services

Importance of personal services

Description of position types

Pay plans

Steps in developing a personal services budget

Exercise: Budgeting for Personnel


4 Budgeting for Operating Expenses and Capital Outlay

Budgeting Non-Personnel Expenses

How this chapter will be useful


Budgeting for Expenses and Equipment

Budgeting for operating expenses

The incremental method

Analytic approaches

Unit cost calculations

Predetermined charges: internal service funds

Standard costs

Capital outlay

Some special considerations

Exercise: Budgeting Operating Expenses and Capital Outlay


5 Defending Budget Proposals

Defending Your Agency Budget

How this chapter will be useful


The Justification and Analysis of Agency Budgets

Strategies versus justification

Mandatory, base, and discretionary expenditures

Three perspectives of an agency's budget review

The central budget office's review

The chief executives review

The legislature's review

Exercise: Defending and Reviewing Budget Requests

Notes 6 Preparing Revenue Estimates

Revenue Estimation

How this chapter will be useful


Estimating Revenues by Funds and Categories

Description of funds and major revenue categories

Classification of funds

Major categories of revenue

Revenue estimating considerations

Revenue estimation models

Procedures for estimating revenues


Exercise: Revenue Estimations


7 Understanding the Property Tax

Working with the Property Tax

How this chapter will be useful


The Property Tax

Step One—Assessment

Step Two—Exemptions and other reductions

Step Three—Calculations

Step Four—Collection

Three perspectives on the property tax

Exercise: Property Tax Calculations and Communications

8 The Capital Budget Process

Capital Budgets

How this chapter will be useful


Preparing Capital Budgets

Components of the capital budget

Advantages and disadvantages

Developing a capital budget


Exercise: Capital Spending


9 How to Spend Your Budget Wisely

Budget Execution

How this chapter will be useful


Plans, Management and Control in Budget Execution

The stages of budget execution

Spending money

Expenditure controls


Cash management

Accounting and auditing

Exercise: Budget Execution


10 Multi-Year Budgets

The Case for a Multi-Year Budget Perspective

How this chapter will be useful


Multi-Year Forecasting and Planning

The benefits of looking ahead

Financial forecasts and gap analysis

Impact analysis of budgetary decisions

Multi-year planning for cyclical expenditures

The politics of multi-year forecasts


Exercise: Multi-Year Forecasts



This book provides descriptions, instructions, and exercises to help readers master government budgeting as it is actually practiced. University courses and training programs serving present and future state and local officials and staff will learn how to do public budgeting in this relevant, practical, and useful workbook. Each chapter presents techniques followed by step-by-step instructions complete with examples to help students learn the material. Self-test exercises conclude each chapter.

Susan Riley, MPA, is Budget Supervisor for Volusia County, Florida, and an adjunct faculty member of both Daytona Beach Community College and University of Central Florida. Peter Colby, Ph. D., is Professor and Director of the Master of Public Administration Program, University of Central Florida.


"Easy to read. Well organized. Most important, it's geared to the practitioner — especially those working in smaller-size governmental units or those students who want jobs in the public sector. " — Paul Green, Governors State University

"This book is logical and thorough, and a 'kinder gentler. . . ' approach to the subject. I like the approach and the execution. " — Daniel M. Barber, Professor, Center for Public Policy, California State University-Long Beach