Discussion: Political and Technical Budget Strategies
In addition to regular job responsibilities, agency administrators have to be good salespeople. They are required each year to “sell their budgets” to those holding the purse strings (most commonly, local, state, or federal legislators). Annually, as they submit budgets, administrators hope to receive the news that the budget is funded in full. In reality, budgets are often questioned and expenditures must be justified to convince funders that agency requests are reasonable, important, and necessary. Agency administrators may use political and technical strategies to convince legislators to fund their budgets. Political strategies emphasize ways to maximize budget funding and are used by administrators that are good at “playing politics.” This approach is often used when there is a difficult financial climate. Technical strategies emphasize the numbers or budget facts. By using a technical strategy, an administrator may demonstrate that the agency is highly productive and worthy of funding. The agency administrator must gauge the political and financial environment to determine which strategy works best to accomplish the agency’s budgeting goals.
To prepare for this Discussion:
- Review the video segment “Budget Proposals” and consider how politics impacts the budgeting process.
- Review Chapter 2 of your course text, The Basics of Public Budgeting and Financial Management, and focus on the difference between political and technical budgeting strategies.
- Consider scenarios in which each budgeting strategy might be used.
- Consider the implications of using a political budgeting strategy versus using a technical budgeting strategy in the budget funding process.
With these thoughts in mind:
Post a brief description of political and technical budgeting strategies. Then describe a scenario where one of these budgeting strategies might be more advantageous than the other and explain why. Finally explain at least one implication of using the strategy you selected. Be specific.