Michigan’s State budget (Snyder & Nixon, 2012) falls under the incremental budgeting classification that is also known as traditional budgeting (Jacobs, Hélis & Bouley, 2009). In the budget, it is clear from an excerpt from The Detroit News editorial of January 17, 2011 that there was a call for Michigan’s leaders to change the usual adoption of previous years’ income/ expenditure and making fine adjustments to an overhaul of the whole budget, leaving nothing untouchable (Snyder & Nixon, 2012, p. A-8).
The State of Texas’ budget (Dewhurst & Straus, 2011) also falls under this category of traditional budgeting classification (Jacobs, Hélis & Bouley, 2009). Comparing the budgetary allocation of fiscal year 2011-12 and that of 2012-13, most of it is a clear duplication of the other years’ allocation with minimum adjustments.
However, the State of California’s budget (Brown, 2012) falls in the category of program budgetary classification (Jacobs, Hélis & Bouley, 2009). In the budget, it is stated that there has been adoption of a new strategy from the previous years’ over-reliance on a one-time solution (Brown, 2012, p. 1).
For the adoption of the traditional budgeting classification by Michigan State and the State of Texas, it is evident that there is an urge to protect key infrastructural changes in the budget. For example, in Michigan, it is noted that usually about 53 % of the budgetary allocation is always directed towards education (Snyder & Nixon, 2010), a culture that the state would rather keep intact at least for the time being.
Texas on the other hand gives no reason for the adoption of this classification but deduction from the budget would point towards saving enormous budgeting funds and saving time during budgeting – opting an easy-way-out while only making minute adjustments to the budget.
The adoption of program budgetary classification by California brings with it gargantuan benefits in that there is improvement on transparency as well as budgeting objectively (Jacobs, Hélis & Bouley, 2009). There is enough evidence that points towards California State’s reduction of budget gap by about $ 15 billion after adopting this approach (Brown, 2012, p. 1).
The first outcome-oriented performance measure for control and accountability is regularly collecting data and making analysis of this data (Jacobs, Hélis & Bouley, 2009, p. 9). In so doing, it becomes relatively easy to know what to allocate a certain sector come the time for the next budgetary allocation. In addition to that, there is increased transparency since data collection and analysis is done regularly unlike in an annualized complex data analysis where data integrity can easily be compromised by crooked state officials.
The second outcome-oriented performance measure is encouraging managers in every responsible department that is allotted funds to have clear objectives (Jacobs, Hélis & Bouley, 2009, p. 9) such that there is follow-up on what has been accomplished within a specific timeframe and the results therein.
Based on the analysis above, it is clear that the state that is most functional as far as addressing control and accountability is concerned is out rightly California. Unlike in the other states considered, California was able to reduce its budget gap from $ 20 billion to about $ 5 billion with a span of one year. Secondly, by adopting the program classification, it is recorded that the government was brought nearer to the people who could criticize its actions and decision in budgeting – a sign of increased transparency.
The approach was also able to protect key sectors like the education, core state services as well as public safety from major impacts during the changes and thus ensure that what matters most is kept secure – a good control measure.
Brown, E. G. (2012). Governor’s Budget Summary 2012-13, The State of California, 1-258.
Dewhurst, D., & Straus, J. (2011). General Appropriations Act: For the 2012-13 Biennium: eighty-second Texas Legislature Regular Session, 2011 – Text of conference Committee Report on House Bill No. 1, The State of Texas, 1-1007.
Jacobs, D., Hélis, J-L., & Bouley, D. (2009). Technical notes and manuals: Budget classification, International Monetary Fund: Fiscal Affairs Department, 1-21.
Snyder, R., & Nixon, J. E. (2012). Executive Budget: Fiscal Year 2012 and 2013, State of Michigan: Department of Technology, Management and Budget, 1-156.