In many ways, public sector budgeting is the the ultimate expression of public policy. Budgets allocate the resources that attempt to make public policy ideas reality. While it may be tempting to think of public budgeting as merely the numbers of a financial design, in reality public budgeting reflects nuanced and often contentious decisions related to what services and benefits will be provided to whom, what campaign promises will be broken or kept, who will pay for promised benefits in the form of higher taxes, etc. etc. This week/module provides an introduction to the political nature of public sector budgeting with an overview of the politics of public budgets in Chapter 1 of the Rubin text and a fascinating look at the effects of constituents’ economic interests on the political actions of their representatives.
Rubin: Chapter 1 (“minicases” may be skipped)
Presentation: Politics and Policy of Public Sector Budgeting – Week 1 Outline
Website: Constituents’ Economic Interests and Senator Support for Spending Limitations
Topic: The Political Nature of Public Sector Budgeting
As you have seen from the readings, public sector budgeting often involves several different categories of interested actors who seek to influence the budget process and the resulting budget in a variety of ways. In this week’s discussion board forum, please identify the various actors that may influence public budgeting and explain how they and their various interests contribute to the political nature of public budgeting.