Kentucky: Transitions, Adjustments, and Innovations
MERL M. HACKBART
The Taft recommendations, the Hoover Commission report, and the budget system innovations of the Johnson, Nixon, and Carter administrations all embraced an underlying thesis that creative or innovative budgetary practices would improve the efficiency and effectiveness of governmental decisions and operations. 1 Nevertheless, the thrust of reform changed over time. Budget process revisions early in this century emphasized control, whereas the Hoover Commissions of the late 1940s and early 1950s stressed performance and management enhancement. Furthermore, the presidentially sponsored initiatives of the last three decades contained various combinations of management and Planning-oriented innovations. 2
What actually constitutes budgetary innovation remains elusive. 3 Often what appears to be an innovation due to the introduction of a new procedure may, in fact, change little in the overall budget process and have little impact on decision making. Despite procedural modifications, budget preparation and control necessarily remain the major budget process emphasis. 4 The literature typically has identified budget process changes as innovations, while realizing that such changes may or may not affect decision making or the efficiency or effectiveness of government operations. 5
This chapter reflects on changes in budgeting practices and activities in Kentucky as a case study of budget process transition and innovation. An earlier study identified gubernatorially mandated or supported change in the budgetary process as the key factor influencing budgetary innovation in state government. 6 Similar patterns have been observed in the federal government, where many presidents have supported budget process changes. In essence, budget innovations have been found to be more successful if implemented concurrently with organizational adjustments. Reorganizational efforts often lead to a reassignment of responsibilities, new internal interactions, and a general environment that is more conducive to the adoption of new budget process techniques.
Kentucky has undergone significant changes in budgeting practices in the past decade and a half. As a result, it offers a unique setting in which to study the