You may analyze major sources of revenue and expenditures, as well as trends over time. For
trends, use the most current budget year available as well as at least one prior year (most budgets
will include data for at least one or two prior years).
Use tables and/or graphs to help display key information. Some governments have a large
number of agencies and revenue sources; in those cases it may be helpful to aggregate some data
(for example, list the largest agencies individually in an expenditure table, then combine other
agencies into categories, such as %u0432%u0402%u045Ahealth or safety,%u0432%u0402%u045C or into one %u0432%u0402%u045Aother%u0432%u0402%u045C category). Think
carefully about the categories you use on both expenditure and revenue sections; do not use a
format without carefully considering whether or not this is the best way to present the data. For
example, they might present the data by funds, and not in the aggregate. Which is the best for
your purposes?
The following are the major questions you should answer regarding expenditures:
1. What is the total expenditure?
– It is often helpful to relate this to something else to give the reader some
perspective %u0432%u0402%u201C e.g., how much is this per capita?
– How has it changed recently and how does it compare to the average state or
local government in the state?
2. Where does the money go?
– Which are the largest agencies or functions of government?
– Which are the largest funds? (This will require breaking down the total budget
by fund.)
– What are the recent important changes in spending?
3. What is the real versus nominal growth in expenditures over the period you are
looking at? Has the government%u0432%u0402%u2122s spending grown faster than inflation?
– Use a price index to calculate real expenditures
– You may want to put figures into real per capita terms also
4. What are the major sources of growth or decline over this period?
– Explain how expenditures have changed in the aggregate, and also by subcategory.
Which categories are growing particularly faster or slower than
others, and why? (The executive%u0432%u0402%u2122s message in the budget may help explain the
reasons for the change).
– Have these changes been the result of explicit policy decisions or by
%u0432%u0402%u045Aautomatic%u0432%u0402%u045C changes built into the budget?
5. What are the strengths and weaknesses about this part of the budget?
It is recommended to examine both the revenues and expenditures. These are the general
questions you may want to consider regarding the revenue structure and trends:
1. Where does the money come from?
– What are the major sources of revenue?
4
2. How much have total revenues and the components changed over this period?
a. Which revenue sources have experienced the most change over this period?
b. To the extent possible, attempt to explain why the changes have occurred
(e.g., sales tax revenues increased due to a change in the sales tax rate, or due
to an increase in taxable sales?)
3. Are there any other major reforms being considered?
4. How well does the revenue structure meet the revenue criteria we have discussed in
class?
5. Trends in debt and other non-tax sources

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