Governors, Legislatures, and Budgets: Diversity across the American States

By Edward J. Clynch; Thomas P. Lauth | Go to book overview
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planning and budgeting process was fully integrated into the operating budget planning and review process already in existence.


SUMMARY

Budget process change can be temporary or permanent. The degree of permanency probably depends on the perceived utility of innovations by succeeding budget process players, including budget office staff, executive branch officials, and legislators and legislative staff officials.

The period from 1972 to 1987 brought significant budgetary process change in Kentucky. Initially fostered by state government reorganization and management reform movements of the late 1960s and early 1970s, budget preparation and assessment processes of 1973 were modified and adjusted throughout the 1970s. The 1980s brought innovations in budget execution due principally to fiscal stress management needs. At the same time, pressures fostered by the emergence of legislative independence influenced the character and approach to budget preparation and execution as well as the capital budgeting approach used in Kentucky. Also noteworthy was the increased role of the judicial branch during the period in influencing budget policies and procedures.

As noted, the emergence of the Kentucky legislature as a partner in the budget preparation and review process began in the early 1970s when the legislature enhanced its ability to deal with the budget complexities by establishing formal budget hearings, recruiting professional staff, and establishing a separate Budget Review Office. The 1980s brought greater legislative independence and further refinement of the legislative budget review process, including the establishment of a separate Senate budget review process and the legislature's more direct involvement in the budget preparation process. However, the greater legislative involvement in the budget process did not detract from the budget innovations initiated by the executive branch. The legislative branch apparently accepted the development of "hybrid" budget process procedures as positive budget innovations.

Kentucky's experience with budgetary innovation and change in the past decade and a half suggests that legislative independence, fiscal stress, and judicial interpretation should be added to the previously recognized state budget innovation inducing factors of executive leadership and reorganization. Regardless of cause, however, Kentucky's budgetary innovations have been adjusted, modified, and integrated to create a hybrid system that meets the traditional budget preparation and control needs as well as the budget planning and execution requirements of contemporary decision makers. A similar integrative fate probably awaits budget process innovations, regardless of implementation reason.

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