The Politics of Budget Execution

AuthorScott R. Douglass,George E. Hale
DOI10.1177/009539977700900305
Published date01 November 1977
Date01 November 1977
Subject MatterArticles
[367]
THE
POLITICS
OF
B UD GET
EXEC UTION
Financial
Manipulation
in
State
and
Local
Government
GEORGE
E.
HALE
University
of
Delaware
SCOTT
R.
DOUGLASS
Syracuse
University
AUTHORS’
NOTE:
This
article
is
a
revision
of
a
paper
presented
at
the
annual
meeting
of the
Midwest
Political Science
Association.
Chicago,
April 29-May
1, 1976.
A
summer faculty
research
grant from
the
University
of Delaware
provided financial
support
for
the
preparation
of the
paper.
Until
recently,
political
scientists
focused
on
the
approval
of
budget
requests
and
ignored
budget
execution.
This
study
counters
the
budgeting
literature’s
almost
single-minded
concentration
on
legislative
action.
Existing
studies
which
touch
on
budget
execution
in
state
and
local
governments
are
reviewed
and five
major
techniques
of
budgetary
adjustment
are
identified:
(1)
conservative
special fund
revenue
estimates,
(2)
accounting
legerdemain,
(3)
transfers,
(4)
reprogramming,
and
(5)
juggling
of special
funds.
The
study
concludes
that
additional
research
on
budget
execution
is
necessary
before
developing
more
effective
theories
about
the
"steering"
of governmental
institutions.
Political
scientists,
hypnotized
until
recently
by
the
routines
of
budget
preparation
and
review,
ignored
budget
execution,
that
is,
the
actual
spending
of
public
funds.
Despite
the
fact
that
budgeting
is
a
continuous
process
involving
daily
decisions,
many
political
scientists
have
viewed
it
as
the
discrete
or
one-
shot
phenomenon
of
a
legislative
appropriations.
I
Yet
the
budget
process
does
not
terminate
with
the
legislature’s

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