Saturday, October 12, 2019

Performance Budgeting :: American Government, Budgeting Initiatives

This paper examines the benefit of performance based budgeting as a practical theory of efficiency for government programming. Confronted by fiscal limitation and demand for improved public services, government agencies are utilizing the budget as a means to elevate government accountability and efficiency, rather than simply as a means for distributing funds and controlling expenses. Performance based budgeting has been defined as a system wherein managers are provided with the flexibility to utilize agency resources as required, in return for their commitment to achieve certain performance results. (Brewer, 3) Performance budgeting is a system of planning, budgeting, and evaluation that emphasizes the relationship between money budgeted and results expected. (Government of Alberta, 1) Performance budgeting signifies an important divergence from habitual line item budgeting. A line item budget is mainly a tool for controlling expenditures it characteristically indicates the amount of spending permitted for particular purposes. As a fiscal year progresses, departmental spending must remain within the budgeted amounts unless formal budget amendments are approved. Under line item budgeting spending in one category cannot automatically be used to supplement another category. (Government of Alberta, 2) While traditional budgets can be useful in assisting managers with internal control, they are not typically as useful as a policy or decision making tool. Line-item budgets assure elected and administrative officials that money is being spent only for approved purposes, but they do not show what is being accomplished with the money. (Government of Alberta, 3) Additional drawbacks to line-item budgets involve the promotion of indolence, due to the minor modifications made to budget planning each year. Line-item budgeting can result in ineffective and costly actions because management is not allowed the flexibility to address changing situations. (Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants, 7) Many government programs are often forced to use funding, or lose funding at the end of a program year; these restrictive processes have the potential to invite micromanagement and impede the fulfillment of program objectives. (Government of Alberta, 3) In comparison, performance budg eting has more of a policymaking orientation it links plans, measures, and budgets and it pushes administrators and policymakers to contemplate the big picture. (Brewer, 23) Performance budgeting provides useful information about the impact of budget decisions on people and gives departments increased budgetary flexibility. Additionally, performance budgeting allows for ongoing monitoring and strengthens legislative decision making and oversight.

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