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

By Edward J. Clynch; Thomas P. Lauth | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Conclusion: Budgeting in the American States--Conflict and Diversity


This volume provides the contextual information that allows us to assess the distribution of executive-legislative influence over budget decisions. It also helps us understand the nature of state fiscal conditions in the 1980s and to discern the impact of this dimension on gubernatorial and legislative budgetary power. Finally, the assortment of patterns reported here allows us to develop general classifications of states operating within the diversity of a federal system.


The executive-centered "movement" implies unidirectional change, with the governor acquiring more power at the expense of the legislature. In reality, the sharing of authority not only keeps one branch from dominating the other, but also allows power to flow in both directions. At the same time, the built-in advantages of ongoing programs negate dramatic budget changes resulting from shifts of power between the governor and lawmakers. Over the last fifty years, budget scholars have reminded us that this year's budget closely resembles last year's budget. The current service base serves as a strong incremental force in most states. Inflation eats into any fiscal dividend and reduces the funds available for new spending initiatives since inflation escalates the cost of existing activities.

Despite the short-term bias toward incrementalism, changes in budget procedures that reconfigure the power of governors and legislatures carry long-term implications for budget decision making. Many states increased the governor's leverage over budget decisions by giving the chief executive the role of budget assembler and forcing the legislature into the role of budget reactor. The progression from legislative dominance to gubernatorial primacy outlined in the Illinois chapter has occurred in many other states. Many governors occupy the central place among budgeting players. This fulfills the majoritarian democracy objective described by Willoughby and others: An official chosen by the entire electorate possesses the tools to shape budget decisions. Recent trends in the


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Governors, Legislatures, and Budgets: Diversity across the American States


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 194

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?