Get the knowledge you need: Budget Talk 101 – NextGen Recap

We’re just getting started at the Next Generation of Government Summit. If you want to see blogs from the conference, please go here: Next Generation of Government blogs. One of the session I sat in on was, Budget Talk 101, the session information is below:

“Just follow the money” – To get anything done in government, you need to understand how the money flows so you can get resources for your projects. Yet, the budget process can be confusing. You are often planning multiple years in advance and then you have the difference between appropriations, apportionment’s, and allotments, not to mention how it all relates to the debt discussion. In this session, we’ll provide the foundation of what you need to know about the budget process.

Jon Stehle, Senior Analyst, Government Accountability Office
Bill Spencer, Clerk of the Board, Merit Systems Protection Board

The speakers provided a few budget terms, which I jotted down below and have a few links to direct you additional resources.

  • Budget authority: legal authority to enter into obligations is provided in legislation specifying: purpose, amount, time
  • Obligation: a defined commitment creating a legal liability of the government
  • Appropriation: legislative language that provides budget authority and permits a federal agency to incur obligations and make payments from treasury
  • Authorization: a statutory provision that establishes or continues a federal agency activity or program, implicitly authorizes congressional action to appropriate funds for such agencies, activities or programs
  • Discretionary spending: provided appropriations acts requiring annual action by congress and the president, amounts are specified in appropriations acts
  • Mandatory spending: provided by permanent law, or effectively controlled by permanent law, often amounts result through eligibility criteria and payment formula
  • Continuing Resolution: continues funding for a program if the fiscal year ends without a new appropriation in place, provides funding at current levels or less
  • Sequester: provides for the automatic cancelation of previously enacted spending, making largely across the board reductions to non-exempt programs activities and accounts
  • A sequester is implemented through a sequestration order issued by the president as required by law

The session continued to provide insights as to how the budget process works and how agencies receiving funding for initiatives and programs.

Generalist Auditor – Five things to Know:

  • Type of federal funds
  • Role of Congressional and President’s budgets
  • Debt/Deficit
  • Continuing Resolutions
  • Performance Report

Budget Analyst – Five Things to Know:

  • Authorization and appropriations laws: corresponding legislation
  • Agency program budget submission to OMB: omb circular a – 11
  • BEA (Budget Enforcement Agency): Mandatory v Discretionary, budget control act of 2011
  • Budget execution: analytics perspectives, chapter 11 budget concepts
  • Sequestration, corresponding legislation

Program Analyst – Five Things to Know:

  • Budget language: GAO budget glossary, OMB circular a-11
  • Budgetary Resources: agency’s authorization and appropriations legislation
  • Budget planning: agency’s authorization and appropriations legislation
  • Communication with budget offices: supervisor/agency culture
  • Congressional justification: individual agency websites

More Resources

OMB Circular A – 11 is a great resource for those involved in the budget cycle. You’ll see terminology, basic laws, budget concepts, among many other resources. This is a must to view if you are looking to learn more about the budget cycle.

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