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A budget is a plan. It is a policy statement. It is a device for communication. It is an expenditure guidebook. How a government or non-profit organization spends its money says a great deal about its mission and policy preferences. It explains the resources it will require to provide specific public services and addresses strategic priorities. Developments in budgeting theory, including performance budgeting, program planning budgeting, and zero-based budgeting have had an impact on the evaluation of government budgets. These results-oriented systems have improved the way budgets are developed and presented. Budgets are generally thought of as occurring in a one-year period called the  fiscal year. In this context it will be referred to interchangeably as the fiscal year or  budgetary year. The budget is the start of action at the beginning of the budgetary period when the board votes and makes it the governing policy of a non-profit organization. The budget is the standard for comparing actual spending with planned spending. Public managers at the local and state levels must try to keep their spending within budget during the budgetary period; as a result, they face many challenges in meeting budget goals during economic downturns. The federal government, on the other hand, does not need to balance the budget from year to year, which has led to large federal deficits.

This week, you consider the repercussions of a federal deficit and a balanced federal budget. You also evaluate a budget using selected criteria.

Required Resources


·         Mikesell, J. L. (2014).  Fiscal administration: Analysis and applications for the public sector (9th ed.). Boston, MA: Wadsworth.

o    Chapter 3, "Federal Budget Structures and Institutions” (pp. 90–143)

o    Chapter 4, "State and Local Budgets” (pp. 152–173)

o    Chapter 5, "Budget Methods and Practices” (pp. 178–218)

o    Chapter 6, “Budget Classifications, Systems, and Reform: Trying to Make Better Choices” (pp. 240–292)

Or http://www.gfoa.org/budgetaward

Optional Resources

·         Government Finance Officers Association. (2014). Budgeting for outcomes. Retrieved from http://www.gfoa.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=506&Itemid=270

Application: Evaluating Budget Documents

An organization’s operational budget is no more than next year's action plan in financial terms. It should list major goals and objectives for the upcoming year, as outlined in an organization’s strategic plan. The budget must identify which programs or services best achieve those goals and estimate all expenses necessary to deliver them. Budget documents should also include expectations for revenue. Despite the necessary elements involved in all operational budgets, these documents can vary in quality from organization to organization. Each year, the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) awards government organizations for the quality of their budget documents, using criteria established in its Distinguished Budget Presentation Award Program.

In this Assignment, you evaluate a budget document using the above criteria. Review the criteria for the GFOA’s Distinguished Budget Presentation Award Program in the Learning Resources for this week. Then, select a public organization and a specific budget document from the organization.

The Assignment:

Write a 5- to 6-page double-spaced paper (not including the cover and reference pages) in which you do the following:

·         Briefly describe the organization and the budget document you selected.

·         Identify the specific type of budget document you selected.

·         Evaluate the budget document using GFOA criteria.

·         Explain whether or not the budget document serves the constituents and other stakeholders of the organization.

·         Use from the library at least two scholarly sources that were published within the past five years to support your paper. Be sure to follow APA guidelines when citing your sources.



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