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Budget Formats

In: Business and Management

Submitted By LEETING
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BUDGET FORMATS By presenting selected information in particular ways, budget documents focus attention on certain questions, relationships, and developments. Because budget formats “establish the rules by which the budgeting game is played (the decision rules)” and also “create the standards by which success is measured (rules of evidence),” formats are important to public budgeting. “When we speak of budgeting formats, we are talking about the way in which budgeting information is structured, the kind of information that is required to justify budget requests, and what kind of questions are asked during the budget review process” (Morgan, 2002, p. 71). There are four general types of approaches: line-item, performance, program, and zero-based, plus hybrids. Table 1 compares them and the following discussion describes them in detail.

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Source:

4 Reprinted by permission. Morgan, Douglas, with the assistance of Kent Robinson and support of Drew Barden and Dennis Strachota, 2002. Handbook on Public Budgeting. Portland State University, Hatfield School of Government, State of Oregon edition, Table 7-6, pp. 162–163, http://eli.pdx.edu/erc/morgan/handbook6.doc.

Alternative Methods of Budgeting
Line-Item Budgeting A line-item budget lists, in vertical columns, each of the city’s revenue sources and each of the types—or classes—of items the city will purchase during the fiscal year. Following is an example of how line-item budgeting would be used in a small town public works department. The line-item budget, which is the most widely used of all budgeting systems, offers many advantages. It is comparatively easy to prepare and doesn’t require sophisticated financial skills. Also, the line-item budget is straightforward, simple to administer, and readily understood by the city council, city employees, and citizens. Moreover, the simplicity of the system...

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