Budgeting: Politics and Power / Edition 1

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A skillful balance of application and theory, Budgeting: Politics and Power by Carol W. Lewis and W. Bartley Hildreth is a comprehensive yet highly accessible introduction to the politics of budgeting.

Unlike other texts on the subject--which typically focus only on budgeting issues at the federal level--this book emphasizes budgeting at the state and local levels to translate budgetary politics in a way that will be more relevant to the vast majority of students.

In order to help students dissect the material and integrate it in a meaningful way, Lewis and Hildreth organize each chapter around key questions about core issues in a democracy. Informed by the authors' own individual backgrounds and expertise, the text presents a thorough--and unbiased--account of the different arguments and political perspectives surrounding budgetary politics.


* Places a unique emphasis on the political aspects of budgeting
* Provides students with the skills and tools they need to work through the political challenges and controversies of budgeting trade-offs
* Offers strong pedagogy including web site resources, case studies, in-class exercises, discussion and review questions; many charts, tables, photos, and cartoons; a glossary of budgeting terms; and an appendix of key federal budgeting points
* Draws on a wide range of academic disciplines including political science, public administration, public policy, economics, psychology, demography, and history
* A Companion Web Site that provides links to videos, chronologies, web resources, additional technical and advanced materials, and primers on reading federal and state budgets

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"I think Budgeting: Politics and Power should be marketed as the best introductory text on public budgeting available, with discussion of many important contemporary topics in budgeting and politics. It should open the understanding of budgeting to many more students."--Bernard Rowan, Chicago State University

"The writing style is what makes this budgeting book so different for me. Students will quickly become engaged."--Cheryl A. Brown, Marshall University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195387452
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 2/5/2010
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Carol W. Lewis is Professor of Political Science at the University of Connecticut. In addition to writing and editing several books, she has lectured all over the world and has published scholarly articles in Public Administration Review, Municipal Finance Journal, Publius, and other journals.

W. Bartley Hildreth is Professor of Public Management and Policy in the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University in Atlanta. He received the Aaron B. Wildavsky Award for lifetime scholarly achievement in Public Budgeting and Finance in 2008 from the Association for Budgeting and Financial Management.

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Table of Contents

Each Chapter ends with a "Thumbnail" summary, Web Site Resources, and Review Questions.

A Different Take on the Subject
Organization and Learning Style
About the Authors

Theoretically Speaking

What Is the Public Sector?
Why Do We Need to Make Political Choices?
Not a Brawl
Political Process
Do the Choices Matter?
Limits to Budgeting
How Does Democracy Affect Budgeting?
Stewardship and Efficiency
What Is a Good Budget?
Case: A Lesson in Political Muscle

Do We Vote Our Budget Choices?
Voting Bundles, Not Budgets
Voting Political Parties
Voting Core Political Beliefs
What Does Governing Mean?
Can Citizens Speak to Political Leaders?
Transparency and Meaningful Participation
Voting Directly on Budget Choices
Are Citizens Self-Interested Rational Actors?
Emotional Language of Budgetary Politics
How Political Ideology Affects Budgeting
Is Lobbying Legitimate in Budgetary Politics?
How and Why We Lobby
Issue Networks
Does Public Opinion Influence Budgetary Politics?
Do Leaders Listen?
Interpreting Public Opinion
Case: Advocacy Strategy, Advocacy Ethics

What's Fair?
Are Taxes Fair?
The Public's Perspective
Notions of Tax Fairness
Tax Burden
Taxes and Income Inequality
Fiscal Federalism and Tax Fairness
Is Spending Fair?
The Politics of Redistribution
Generational Politics
Spending across the States
Political and Budgetary IOUs
Are Citizens Satisfied with Performance?
Does Citizen Trust or Distrust Matter?
Case: What Do You Think?

How Is the Budget "Game" Played?
How Did We Get Here?
What Is Executive Budgeting?
How Does Executive Budgeting Work?
Executive Formulation and Submission
Bouncing Off the Base
Budget Requests
- Legislative Call
- Appeals and Issue Networks
- Budget Strategies
Significance of Stage One
Legislative Review and Appropriation
Review of the Executive Budget Request
Limits on Legislative Powers
Line-Item Appropriations and Veto Power
Budget Blackout
Implementation and Audit
Allotments and Rescissions
Supplemental Appropriations
War and the Federal Budget Process
After the Books Are Closed
Summary of the Executive Process
Why Take a Political Perspective?
How Does the Federal Entitlement Process Work?
The Art of the Budget Process
Case: A Package Deal

What Rules Guide Putting the Budget Pieces Together?
Fiscal Rules for the Federal Government
Fiscal Rules for State and Local Governments
Fiscal Rules Are Norms
What Is a Balanced Budget?
Revision of the Budget during the Year
The "Is" of a Balanced Budget
What Happens When There Is No Budget or the Budget Is Not in Balance?
Financing the Deficit by Issuing Debt
State and Local Government Debt
Budget Cutbacks
Is the Budget Sustainable Over Time?
Rainy Day Budgeting
Public Sector Employee Benefits
Budget Sustainability
Case: Insulating Politicians by Letting a Commission Do the Heavy Lifting on What to Cut

How Much Are We Spending?
Measuring Spending
Internal Dynamics: Percent Change and Growth Rate
External Developments
- Changing Prices
- Economic Change
- Social Change
A Slice of the Pie
Cost Structure Makes a Difference
Workforce and Payroll
Employee Benefits and Unpaid Bills
Why Is Some Federal Spending Kept Secret?
What Is the Cost of the "War on Terror"?
What Does Counterterrorism Cost?
What Are We Getting for the Money?
Why Do Budgets Grow?
Case: A Difficult Dilemma

Why Do We Pay for Public Services?
Willingness to Pay
Revenue Systems Serve Different Functions
Revenue and Civic Engagement
Strategies for Public Support
Who Makes Revenue Policy?
Political Pressure on Technical Experts
Revenue Power outside the Beltway
Political Pressure on Decision Makers
What Types of Revenue Does the Public Sector Use?
The Property Tax
The Income Tax
The Sales and Use Tax
Revenue Diversity
How Do Taxes Work?
The Sticky Problems of Tax Administration
Rules that Limit Tax Uses and Tax Increases
Nominal versus Effective Tax Rate
What Are the Five Principles of Taxation and How Are They Applied?
Applying Tax Principle #1: How Does Tax Policy Affect Economic Growth?
Applying Tax Principle #2: What Is Efficient Taxation?
Applying Tax Principle #3: How Can Tax Policy Be Economical?
Forecasting Revenue
Price of Government
Tax Elasticity
Revenue Yield Over Time
Other Concerns
Applying Tax Principle #4: How Does Transparency Make Taxation Responsive?
Applying Tax Principle #5: What Is a Fair Tax?
Benefits-Received Principle
Ability-to-Pay Principle
Tax Incidence
Taxes in the Global Economy
Can Governments Raise Revenue without Having Taxes?
Case: Repeal the #@! Income Tax in Taxachusetts!

What Is Capital Budgeting and Why Is It Important?
Infrastructure as Durable Goods and Capital Assets
Doing Public Mega-Projects
Should Governments Plan and If So, How?
Identifying Capital Projects
Capital Programs and Budgets
Project Costs and Benefits
If Not Pay Cash, Then Why and When Borrow Money?
Debt Is Not Always Bad
Bond Ratings and Credit Quality
Debt Rules
State and Local Governments' Securities
Is There Such a Thing as Free Money?
State and Local Officials Look to the Federal Government
Local Officials Look to the States
Case: Budget Busters!

Budget Message
Budget Summary
Detailed Schedules
Supporting Documentation
Eight Focal Points
Fiscal Year?
Operating or Capital Budget?
Legal Status of the Document?
Is the Budget Balanced?
What Fund Applies?
What Are the Budget Drivers?
What Gets the Spotlight?
Proceed with Caution!
Go Beyond the Budget
Questions to Ask When Reading a Budget
Would You Vote for This Budget?

Why Does Budgeting Change and Yet So Much Stays the Same?
Sources of Change
Putting on the Squeeze
Budgetary and Political Time Bombs
How Do Today's Budget Decisions Affect Tomorrow's Democracy?
Arguments For
Arguments Against
How Are We Doing?
Transparency and Complexity
Financing Public Higher Education
Following the Money through a Maze
Accountability, Stewardship, and the Artful Dodge
Budget Gimmicks
Dodging Tough Choices
Efficiency, Effectiveness, and Performance
Responsiveness and the Role and Size of Government
Where Are We Headed?
Reforming the Appropriations Process
Entitlement Reform
Closure Commissions
Reforming Earmarks
Other Reforms
What Can We Do about It?
Trust and the Political Deficit
Participation and a Challenge to Take Two Steps
Case: The Gag Rule
The Big Picture: Integrating Questions





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