Classroom South 507,
PUBLIC BUDGETING AND FINANCE
pay taxes to the federal government, you help pay the interest
on trillions of dollars in U.S. debt. Find out why we pay
the taxes we do, how this money is spent, who is slicing the
national budget pie and why some slices are bigger than others.
In this course, students will learn about the technical and
political nature of public budgeting. In addition, students
will complete exercises of both a theoretical and applied
nature. These include examination of current budget issues,
assessment of recent academic research in the field of public
budgeting and finance, and analysis of budgeting trends in
a specific governmental or non-profit agency or program. Students
will build their skills in analytical writing, Excel, financial
analysis, and presenting. The primary focus of the course
is on state and local government finance, though the federal
government also receives substantial attention.
D. Lee, Ronald W. Johnson, and Philip G. Joyce (2007).
Public Budgeting Systems,
8th edition. Jones and Bartlett Publishers, Sudbury,
Massachusetts. ISBN: 0-7637-3129-3.
books should be available in the university bookstore. I also
recommend shopping on the Web to find the best prices.
Web site might prove helpful. Please notify
the instructor immediately, if you have problems getting this book.
are additional readings available on the Vista course home page,
and there are several Kennedy School cases that students need to
should be able to describe and explain the theoretical foundations
of public budgeting in the United States.
should be able to demonstrate an understanding of the political,
legal, economic, social and cultural factors influencing budgets
and budget making in America.
Students should be able to describe
and explain the technical nature of public budgeting in the United
States, including the timetables and rules typically used at the
three levels of government.
Students should be able to explain
and compare the political aspects of budgeting with rational methods
of resource allocation in the United States.
should be able to effectively use Microsoft Excel to develop complex
spreadsheets, meaningful analyses, and sophisticated graphics.
should be able to assess the financial status of public organizations.
class serves a specific and vital function in the MPA curriculum,
and the content is set in a general way by the department faculty.
Minimal overlap is expected with PAUS 8141, which is a required
class for all MPA students and the PAUS 8501 class that is required
for the management and finance concentration. The relationship
between these different courses does need occasional monitoring,
so please let me know if you have any questions or concerns about
the content covered in this set of courses.
will hold formal office hours from 2pm-4pm on Monday in room
316 of the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies. Meetings
can also be scheduled at a mutually convenient time. I will
also be answering questions via telephone during office hours.
You can reach your instructor by telephone at (404) 939-1235.
Stay on the line, if I am away, and you will get my voice mail. This
is a Google Voice number, and it rings multiple phones, emails me
messages, et cetera. There is no need to call multiple numbers to
reach me. Electronic mail can be sent via the Internet to email@example.com.
Online office hours are available on request for students with
access to a computer and a headset microphone.
Email has become our primary mode
of communication, and needs to be done well. Consider these basic
requirements as essential when communicating with your instructor.
play out over a span of time, and they should be confined to
a single email thread. That is, always respond to the previous
email, and always make sure that the previous emails remain
Pick one email
address at the start of class for me and for yourself and stick
with it. I can find your emails easier if they all come from
the same place, Likewise, spreading your correspondence with
me across several email accounts does not help me to understand
Do not send
the same email and/or attachments to me multiple times. I make
it my job to keep track of your correspondence. Multiple mailings
are not necessary. Reminders when you do not hear from me are
prefer that you use an email address with some portion of your
name in it. GSU gives you such an ID, for example.
always use a signature that gives your contact information,
should I need additional information. Your signature should
list other email addresses, if you are sending emails to me
from multiple accounts.
You need to
use subject lines that say something meaningful. Imagine someone
revisiting this topic a month later. Will the subject line help
me to find this email at a later point in time? Remember that
class issues often span 3-4 months.
on the Web:
The course home
page can be on uLearn You will have problems using uLearn if you
do not do observe the browser recommendations. This is something
that students are expected to do. Submitting files on Learn
is required, and sending work via email is not acceptable. The only
time work will be accepted outside uLearn is when it is accompanied
by a evidence that you first tried to work with technical support.
Make it your responsibility to make sure that you can use uLearn
send me back up copies for their uLearn work by email, and this
or desirable. uLearn shows your submitted files, and you can even
view them. This is all the proof you need of a successful file submission.
Learn the features of the assignment drop box.
and the Final Exam:
There will be a midterm
and a final exam in this class. The midterm can be completed
at any location, but you will have a limited amount of time to complete
your work. You will access the exam online and submit it online
by the required deadline. The final will be available for
several days, and it will also be accessed and submitted online.
The midterm is a standard essay format, but the final must be in
the form of a position paper. A
thorough knowledge of the class text book will be needed to do well
on both exams. You will be able to practice submitting assignments
online before anything is due.
There are a
number of homework assignments in this class, and they must be submitted
on the uLearn class home page. The assignments are shown below:
Creating a Budget Request Exercise
(20 Points): Develop a budget request
for a local government development department. Submit
this on uLearn.
for a Job Training Program Exercise (50
Points): Develop a spreadsheet
to analyze the funding challenges facing a job training program.
Submit this on uLearn.
Best Practices Exercise (20
Points): Learn about the best practices identified by the
Government Finance Officers Association. Bring this to
State of Grace Exercise (20 Points): Study the budgetary
tr.ends in the State of Grace, using deflators and accounting
for inflation. Submit this on uLearn.
Squares Trend Line Exercise (20 Points): Develop
a least squares trend analysis to estimate future energy consumption
trends. Submit this on uLearn.
Authority Financial Analysis (50 Points): Carefully
review both cases before class and work on the budget template
that will be provided. Submit this on uLearn.
Budgeting Exercise (20 Points): Recommend capital budgeting
priorities for a municipality. Bring this to class.
Attendance counts for 50 points (5 percent of your final grade).
Each class missed lowers your point total by 5 points. There is
some allowance for arriving late and early departures, but it is
my discretion as to whether these events count as a point deduction.
The penalty will be waived for extraordinary events. Please remind
me to take attendance for each class!
Students who are not familiar
with spreadsheets are strongly encouraged to complete at least the
Level One Excel training offered by Element K (http://www2.gsu.edu/~wwwwbt/).
Element K access is free to GSU students, and it is excellent.
You receive a certificate for each level of training that you complete.
There are also a number of specialized modules for more advanced
users. If using spreadsheets is new to you, then get started
on this training during the first week of this course. We
will be getting right to work on practical spreadsheet applications.
As an incentive, your instructor
will provide 15 bonus points to any student who submits a certificate
of completion for Level 1, 2, or 3 Excel training prior to the fourth
class. The offer is for a maximum of 15 points out of the
1000 points available in this course, regardless of the number of
Excel levels you achieve. This is 1.5 percent of your final
There is one
major writting assignment in this class. :
is often necessary to assess the financial condition
of an organization, both at the present time and for
the foreseeable future. For this assignment, you
must choose a government, single agency or nonprofit
organization and conduct an in-depth analysis of revenues
and expenditures for the past six years. You are responsible
for doing whatever research is needed to completely
address all the required components of your report.
It is likely that you can get the appropriate legislation,
fiscal data, and budget documents off the Web, but personal
interviews might also be useful. The approach
you use is up to you.
Consider this to be a
consulting report for a firm that has been asked to
develop this analysis for a potential investor (as in
the case of an economic development project) or a contributor.
If you are looking at a single agency, you may want
to think of this project as a component of a financial
audit being conducted by GAO or a similar oversight
agency. Focus your work on providing the information
that your client needs to make appropriate management
decisions. Tailoring your work for a specific
audience will help you to develop a far more powerful
analysis (and get a better grade).
Your final product should
be no longer than 14 typed pages, double-spaced, not
including title page, tables, footnotes, references,
appendices, etc. Cite the source clearly for any
tables or figures that you do not complete yourself.
Please use standard margins and a standard font size.
You may complete this project with a partner,
but this is something that you will need to arrange.
More information about this assignment will be provided
on the class home page at an appropriate time.
Each trend analysis should
contain the following components:
Identify and describe
the organization mission, goals, and objectives;
Describe tax and non-tax
categories and trends (using appropriate tables
Analyze the budgetary
process--political, incremental, crisis oriented,
results oriented, or a hybrid;
future prospects and challenges--regarding revenues,
expenditures, budget process, or other aspects;
the fiscal capacity and stability of the organization
you studied. This is an analysis, and you
examined a financial system. What did you
learn about how well your organization functions?
Can your organization complete its mission and attain
goals and objectives?
Apart from the specific
instructions given here, the reports will be graded
on how well they conform to the writing tips for 8161.
Think of the tips more as requirements than suggestions.
A 10 minute oral presentation
is also required. Each presentation should effectively
summarize the highlights of a trend analysis and stay
within the specified time limit, which may vary from
class-to-class. Consider your audience to be important
decision-makers and try to provide information that
will be very useful for them. Focus on your analysis
and recommendations and not on describing your organization.
Your final paper must be submitted
as an assignment on uLearn. Everyone must submit
a paper, even if the paper was completed with a partner.
plagiarizing or cheating in any form will face disciplinary action
that could result in receiving an ďFĒ in this course, or suspension
or expulsion from the University. If a student is ever unclear
as to what constitutes plagiarism or cheating regarding work on
written or oral presentations, please consult the student handbook
and/or consult your instructor. It is the studentís responsibility
to know the meaning of plagiarism and when it occurs. The
following is reprinted from the GSU Student Handbook:
is presenting another personís work as oneís own. Plagiarism
includes any paraphrasing or summarizing of the works of another
person without acknowledgement, including the summarizing of another
studentís work as oneís own. Plagiarism frequently involves
a failure to acknowledge in the text, notes, or footnotes the quotation
of the paragraphs, sentences, or even a few phrases written or spoken
by someone else. The submission of research or completed papers
or projects by someone else is plagiarism, as is the unacknowledged
use of research sources gathered by someone else when that use is
specifically forbidden by the faculty member. Failure to indicate
the extent and nature of oneís reliance on other sources is also
a form of plagiarism. It is also plagiarism to reuse material
you prepared for different courses in the same program.
The student is responsible for understanding the legitimate use
of sources, the appropriate ways of acknowledging academic, scholarly
or creative indebtedness, and the consequences of violating this
Trend Analysis may be completed by a student and their partner.
Other required assignments and exams should be the sole products
of the individual(s) whose name is on them.
on Late Assignments:
our class goals requires steady progress, and penalties for late
work help to keep everyone current. The grade on any assignment
turned in more than 10 minutes after the deadline (by my time) will
be reduced one half of a letter grade (5 percent). There will
be another half letter grade reduction for each additional 6 hour
period, up to a 50% reduction. I will accept late work at any point
in the class with a 50% penalty. You are always better off completing
assignments, no matter how late they are.
course grades will be determined as follows:
must earn 900+ points to receive a grade of "A," 800+
points to earn a "B," and 700+ points to earn a grade
of "C." Incomplete grades will only be given for
nonacademic reasons when advance arrangements have been made.
In this class, a B is
the expected grade for good, competent work. Grades in
the A range are reserved for excellent work. Excellent
work goes beyond the minimum in some important way.
Plus and minus grades will be used in this class for final course
grades when a grade is within 15 percent of a lower or higher
grade. For example, a final point total of 815 or less
is a B-. Likewise, a score of 885 or above is B+.
that there is no A+.
will be able to check your scores on the class home page.
Grades on the exams and the written assignments will be presented
on a 100 point scale, so that you can better evaluate your performance.
A weighted point total will be provided around the middle of
the course, which will allow you to see how well you are doing.
PMAP Career Services Office:
The Department of Public Management and Policy (PMAP) provides career support services to all current PMAP students and alumni. Students are invited to meet with Dr. Maggie Tolan, the Director of Academic Programs and Alumni Affairs, to discuss resume writing, interviewing, job searching, internship development, and networking. To see what career panels, career fairs, and events are available this semester, please visit: http://aysps.gsu.edu/paus/career.html. Make the most of your education by utilizing these great resources. Students are encouraged to arrange an individualized appointment with Dr. Tolan by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org. Her office is located in room 328 in the PMAP Department.
OUTLINE AND SCHEDULE
Introduction to the Course
Goals: Get introduced to budgeting in the public sector.
Readings: Public Budgeting Systems (PBS): Readings on
and two will be reviewed in class, but they will not
be formally assigned.
Note: Please complete the Budgeting Student Data Sheet,
if you have not done this already. You will find
it on the uLearn page. Click to download the Word
form, fill it out, and email it back to me. You can
also print the form and fill it out the old fashioned
way, if needed. You can scan the printed form,
email it, bring it to me, or fax it to 1-206-203-2056
This is a toll call.
you may practice submitting an assignment in uLearn
after class tonight. It is a good idea to practice
before you need to submit an assignment in this way.
This is one way to make sure that you have avoided any
browser problems. It is possible that you could view
the page just fine and then find yourself unable to
complete a specific task, like submitting your work
for a grade.
Guest Speakers from the Georgia Office of Planning and Budget
Learn about career options, cutting edge budget developments, and budget processes
for different levels of government. Come prepared to ask questions.
Goals: Learn about budget processes
for different levels of government.
Public Budgeting Systems (PBS), Chapter 3. Your instructor
will provide a set of "questions for the day"
that will guide the class discussion, and this will
be the pattern for all book-related lectures.
Class Four, September
a Budget/Budgeting for a Job Training Program
We will start off class by creating
a budget request in Excel and then students will meet
in groups to review the Job Training Program spreadsheet
assignment. It will help if you download the online
materials from uLearn that your instructor will provide
and bring them to class on a USB drive. Also, keep in
mind that the latest version of Excel is used in the
AYSPS Lab. (Do not go home with a file that you cannot
will meet in room 720 of the AYSPS building.
You must submit the Creating a Budget Request Exercise Assignment on the Vista
homepage by 11:30pm on September 19.
Class Five, September 21
Canceled Due to Weather
Budgeting for Revenues
Goals: Learn about the different
types of revenues that are used to fund governments.
Readings: Public Budgeting
Systems (PBS), Chapters 4; bring an article on a public
revenue issue that interests you; you may be asked to
share it with the class.
You must submit the Job
Training Program Spreadsheet Assignment on the Vista
homepage by 11:30pm on October 3.
Class Seven, October 5
Learn about the different analytical tools and management
processes that can be used to help focus budgets on
Public Budgeting Systems (PBS), Chapter 6.
Bring a completed GFOA Best Practices Assignment to
Class Eight, October 12
will not meet in our classroom. You may take the
exam at the location of your choice.
will be able to access the exam on the uLearn home page
at 5pm, and this is also where the exam will be submitted.
must also submit your Midterm Exam on the Vista
homepage by 11:30pm on October 16.
Class Nine, October 19
Spreadsheets and Trend Analysis
Learn to conduct a basic trend analysis.
Readings: State of Grace Exercise; Johnson and
Welch, Graphical Presentations (see uLearn).
will meet in room 720 of the AYSPS building.
must submit your State of Grace Trend Analysis Assignment on the Vista
homepage by 11:30pm on October 24.
Class Ten, October 26
Goals: We will learn more about
the looming federal budget deficit and explore possible
Readings: Public Budgeting Systems
(PBS), Chapter 9. Bring an article related to the federal
budget deficit that interests you. You will be asked
to share their article with the class (tell us a bit
Class Eleven, November 2
Advanced Budget Analysis (Trend Analysis with Regression)
Learn how to analyze the budget and spending patterns
of a government or nonprofit agency.
Readings: Liner, "Projecting Local Government Revenue" (See
will meet in room 720 of the AYSPS building.
must submit your Least Squares Trend Analysis on the Vista
homepage by 11:30pm on November 7.
Management: Accounting, Auditing, and Information Systems
Learn how budgets are implemented and get introduced
to techniques for interpreting government financial
Public Budgeting Systems (PBS), Chapter 11; Case Assignment: Harvard Kennedy School Case 949
There is also a very informative supplement for this
must also submit your Water
Authority Financial Analysis
on the Vista homepage by 11:30pm
on November 18.
Class Thirteen, November 16
Capital Assets: Planning and Budgeting, Analysis, and
Learn about the means for financing capital projects.
Public Budgeting Systems (PBS),
Class Fourteen, November 23
Learn more about trend analysis from seeing how others
addressed this assignment.
must also submit your trend analysis report on the Vista
homepage by 11:30pm on December 2. Everyone must submit a report, even
if they were part of a two-person team.
Class Fifteen, November 30
Develop a more refined perspective on the factors that
drive the budgeting process. You will also learn
more about why reform efforts are difficult.
Readings: Rubin, "Budgeting: Theory, Concepts,
Methods, and Issues" (see uLearn) and Chapter 13;
Smith, "Position Paper: Know the Arguments"
Available December 1/Due on Thursday, December 10 at
Note: You must submit your exam on the Vista home page.
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