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The Politics of Public Budgeting

The Politics of Public Budgeting
Getting and Spending, Borrowing and Balancing

Eighth Edition

Other Titles in:
Bureaucracy | Public Budgeting

November 2016 | 384 pages | CQ Press
Public budgeting is inherently political.  In The Politics of Public Budgeting, author Irene S. Rubin lays out the actors involved–interest groups, public officials, legislators, and the public–and shines a light on how these groups, who each have their own goals, are able to bargain and barter their way to a resolution. The new Eighth Edition examines the budgeting process over time and sets issues like the federal deficit and health care expenditures in political and comparative context.  As in previous editions, the book also draws on examples from all levels of government and emphasizes the relationships among them. By carefully analyzing each strand of the decision-making process, Rubin shows the extraordinary cooperation involved in passing a budget and achieving accountability.
Tables, Figures, and Minicases
1. The Politics of Public Budgets
What Is Budgeting?  
Governmental Budgeting  
Minicase: City Manager Replies to Scathing Budget Critique  
Minicase: Missouri Constitutional Amendment Reduces Governor’s Powers  
Minicase: The Courts and New Jersey Pension Reform  
Minicase: Doctoring Audit Reports  
Minicase: The Federal Debt Limit as a Constraint  
Minicase: Highly Constrained Budgeting—Colorado’s TABOR Amendment  
The Meaning of Politics in Public Budgeting  
Budgetary Decision-Making  
Microbudgeting and Macrobudgeting  
Summary and Conclusions  
Useful Websites  
2. Revenue Politics
Raising Taxes  
Minicase: Louisiana—Getting Around the No Tax Increase Pledge  
Minicase: A Recent Tax Increase in Philadelphia  
The Politics of Protection  
Minicase: Wisconsin and Unexamined Tax Breaks  
Minicase: Illinois and the Role of the Press  
Minicase: Tax Breaks for Hedge Fund Managers  
Minicase: California and Enterprise Zone Tax Breaks  
Minicase: North Carolina and Business Tax Breaks  
Minicase: Michigan—Terminating Its Film Subsidy  
Minicase: New Mexico and Tax Expenditure Reporting  
Tax Reform  
Minicase: Georgia Tax Reform Left Hanging  
Minicase: Michigan Tax Reform or Class Warfare?  
Summary and Conclusions  
Useful Websites  
3. The Politics of Process
Budget Process and the Characteristics of Public Budgeting  
Minicase: Harrisburg—Whose Priorities Dominate?  
Macro- and Micropolitics  
Minicase: Republican Macrolevel Reform Proposals  
Designing Process to Achieve Policy and Political Goals  
Minicase: Micropolitics—Bending the Rules to Win Individual Decisions  
Minicase: How the Governor’s Veto Is Used  
Variation Between and Among Federal, State, and Local Governments  
Minicase: Maine—The Governor Versus the Legislature  
Minicase: Limits of Governor’s Vetoes in New Mexico  
Minicase: San Diego—Fiscal Problems, Strong Mayor, and Veto Powers  
Summary and Conclusions  
Useful Websites  
4. The Dynamics of Changing Budget Processes
Minicase: New York State—Powerful Governor, Weak Legislature, Informal Budgeting  
Minicase: The Governor Versus the Courts  
Federal Budget Process Changes  
Minicase: Deeming Resolutions and Ad Hoc Budgeting  
Minicase: Ad Hoc Scoring Rules  
Minicase: Overseas Contingency Operations  
Changes in Budget Process at the State Level  
Minicase: Maryland’s Legislative Budget Power  
Minicase: South Carolina’s Legislatively Dominated Budget Process Begins to Budge  
Minicase: The Executive and the Legislature in Florida’s Budgeting  
Changes in Budget Process at the Local Level  
Minicase: Florida and Unfunded Mandates  
Summary and Conclusions  
Useful Websites  
5. Expenditures: Strategies, Structures, and the Environment
Minicase: A $17,000 Drip Pan  
Minicase: Homeland Security—A Program Tied to a Goal of Unlimited Worth  
Minicase: Amtrak Train Wreck  
Minicase: Congressional Budget Office and Scoring  
Minicase: Budgetary Implications of Direct College Loans Versus Loan Guarantees  
Minicase: An Open-Ended Discretionary Program—Immigration Enforcement  
Minicase: California and Mandatory Spending on Redevelopment Agencies  
Minicase: Fannie and Freddie  
Minicase: New Jersey’s Fund Diversion From the Unemployment  
Insurance Fund  
The Environment  
Strategy, Structure, and Environment Combined: The Medicare Example  
Summary and Conclusions  
Useful Websites  
6. The Politics of Balancing the Budget
Balance as a Constraint  
Minicase: Is the Wisconsin Budget Balanced?  
Minicase: Balance in the Federal Highway Trust Fund  
Multiple Actors, Ideologies, and Deficits  
The Environment, Unpredictability, and Deficits  
Increasing Stress Between Payer and Decider  
Minicase: Chicago’s Parking Meters  
Minicase: Iowa’s Privatization of Medicaid  
The Politics of Deficits: The Federal Level  
The Politics of Deficits: States  
Minicase: Detroit Bankruptcy  
Minicase: Why Did Jefferson County, Alabama, Declare Bankruptcy?  
The Politics of Balance in Cities  
Minicase: The Politics of Deficits—An Urban Example  
Summary and Conclusions  
Useful Websites  
7. Budget Execution: The Politics of Adaptation
Minicase: Missouri—An Executive Abuses Discretion?  
Tools for Changing the Budget  
Minicase: Using Holdbacks to Change Legislative Priorities—Maryland  
Minicase: Herbert Hoover and Legislative Vetoes  
Minicase: The National Weather Service Reprogramming  
Summary and Conclusions  
Useful Websites  
8. Controlling Waste, Fraud, and Abuse
The Politics of Finding Waste, Fraud, and Abuse  
Minicase: President Obama Fires an IG  
Minicase: Who Guards the Guards? Not the Guards Themselves  
Minicase: Acting IG for Homeland Security—Too Close to the Department  
Minicase: New York State and Medicaid  
Minicase: The Massachusetts Inspector General Versus the Governor  
Minicase: Baltimore’s Departing IG  
Summary and Conclusions  
Useful Websites  
9. Budgetary Decision-Making and Politics
Real-Time Budgeting  
A Comparison of the Decision-Making Streams  
Common Themes  
Reconceptualizing Reform  
Avenues for Research  
Summary and Conclusions  
Useful Websites  
Author Index
Subject Index
About the Author

The Politics of Public Budgeting is an excellent text for anyone who is interested in learning about federal, state, and/or local government as explained by the budgeting process.  It is engaging and easy to navigate while also being comprehensive and insightful.  This balance is a difficult one to strike and Irene Rubin does it masterfully.  I think the highest praise is that my students always comment on how much they enjoy their readings and the subsequent quality of conversations during class.  This text is a classic and we are fortunate that she continues to update it and keep it current.”

Whitney Afonso
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

“This is a very readable, easily understood book on public budgeting basics for all three levels of government–Federal, State, and Local–that I have used in Master’s Public Finance course since 2000.  It provides a balanced, comprehensive approach that appeals to students and practitioners alike, and the mini-cases add a learning experience unmatched by any other texts on the subject.  As a City Manager for over 20 years and in local government for over 35 years, I found myself nodding in agreement with Dr. Rubin’s practical, concise observations on public budgeting – she gets it right, and this is the way it really works from my experience.”

Mark Nagel
Metropolitan State University

“Irene Rubin does an outstanding job with this text on public budgeting. She immerses the reader deep into the world of public budgeting while simultaneously illustrating the political realities of budgets. Rubin engages student with well-thought-out organization and discussions in each chapter. The mini-cases insightfully create a picture of the budgeting process that students truly enjoy using for class discussion. The Politics of Public Budgeting is ideal for both graduate and undergraduate students.”

Paul J. Pope
Montana State University Billings

"The Politics of Public Budgeting is an excellent textbook because it provides a more global perspective, a public policy, and a political perspective regarding public budgeting, and therefore provides much needed context for the students.  The mini-case studies in particular provide samples from all levels of government, local, state and federal, which provide students with contemporary samples of public budgeting politics, issues and concerns."

Steve Wantz
California State University, Northridge

Sample Materials & Chapters

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Chapter 6

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ISBN: 9781506354804