Governor Deval Patrick's Budget Recommendation - House 2 Fiscal Year 2009

Governor's Budget Recommendation FY 2009

Budget Transparency


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Governor Patrick    FY09 House 2 Budget Recommendation:
    Issues in Brief

    Deval L. Patrick, Governor
    Timothy P. Murray, Lt. Governor

 

Overview

While a budget worth $28 billion is bound to include a myriad of details, we have made a concerted effort to make those details more understandable, and to provide additional context for understanding the numbers. Such a focus is referred to as "budget transparency" - letting the public understand what their tax dollars are funding. The gains that were realized in the Governor's first budget were enhanced and expanded upon in this second budget.

Details Behind the Budget

  • Summarized the major actions taken by agency in a budget narrative, and expanded upon some of my policy initiatives through Issues in Brief documents.
  • Provided considerable detail on economic and fiscal conditions behind budget decisions.
  • Displayed budget request grouped by major government area. Drill downs provided greater detail by department and account.
  • Provided substantially more detail on revenue sources than prior budgets, listing specific fund transfers and detailing the sources of federal and departmental revenues.

An example of an graph within the online budget.  This one shows spending summarized by Government Area.


This chart shows the FY2009 Budgetary Recommendation of those government areas that are greater than 5% of the total spending in FY09 in a pie chart.  48% of the total is Health and Human Services, 22% is Education, 15% is Independents, and the remaining 15% are all government areas that are less than 5% of the total.

Understandable Budget

  • Graphed budget information in pie charts to enable a quick understanding of how the budget is divided.
  • Used straightforward language as much as possible, rather than legalese, to make the intent more clear.
  • Limited the number of outside sections, all of which have a clear relationship to the budget. Each section also has a clear explanation of its intent.
  • Linked to relevant laws within document to take advantage of online format. Related outside sections listed for each department.
  • Created a "How To" guide for navigating the budget

Historical Context

  • Detailed 5 years of historical budgets, spending, and employment levels. Spending information available to download for further individual analysis.
  • Summarized 5 years of spending in 6 categories - Wages and Salary, Benefits and Withholding, Operating Expenses, Public Assistance, Aid to Cities and Town, and Debt Service. Possible to drill down to determine which agencies and accounts contribute to that spending.

An example of chart summarizing spending in the 6 categories - Wages, Benefits, Operating, Public Assistance, Local Aid and Debt Service.


Additional Information

  • Listed the earmarks funded in the H.2 budget recommendation.
  • Made main budget web pages ADA accessible.
  • Developed an information page for each department to display information on the department's mission, web site, organization chart and related laws and regulations.
  • Published the Tax Expenditure Budget within the overall budget document to detail over $19 billion in personal, corporate and sales tax exemptions.
  • Incorporated a detailed economic forecast from the UMass Donahue Institute.

The introductory graph to the Tax Expenditure Budget displaying summarized personal, corporate and sales tax exemptions.


Ongoing Efforts

  • Developed and maintained a Budget Tracking Tool to compare funding levels across the stages of the budget.
  • Published the final GAA in the H.1 format to take advantage of the drill down and linking features.
  • Published a main budget page on mass.gov/budget to allow the public to track progress of the budget process, and have a central link to budget-related information.

This chart displays a sample page from the Budget Tracking Tool. Landing page from mass.gov/budget.


Prepared by the Executive Office for Administration and Finance • Rooms 373 & 272 • State House
For more information contact:
Jennifer.Hewitt@massmail.state.ma.us
www.mass.gov/budget/governor


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