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Public Administration: Line Items

-Provide an example of an organization that uses line items, and describe the organization.
-Why do line items appeal to you? Explain in detail.
-In your opinion, what strengths and weaknesses do line items contain? Explain in detail.

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Line-item budgeting is still the most common method of budgeting, often adopted by school systems and local governments. It is a very simple approach that is concerned mostly with control over expenses. Often, it bases itself on the historical needs of different departments balanced with revenue forecasts. This is different from performance budgets in that line items do not show work done or unit costs.

Provide an example of an organization that uses your selected budget type, and describe the organization.

By law, all cities in the state of New York must use a line item budget. For New York City, the 2013 capital budget can be found here:

New York city is the largest city in the US. It's budget, of course, is massive and loaded with detail. In this case, we are just looking at the capital budget, done in the line item style. Typical of the line item, it is rational and well organized, but short on details of programs.

The mayor is in charge of creating the budget, then sends it to the city council for review. The budget is normally split to several parts. The first is expenses, which proposes spending levels office by office. The capital budget, like the above, that deals with purchases of capital goods the city needs. The revenue budget is one that estimates revenue for coming years. Hence, all are done in the line item style, but what makes NYC different is that it is separated into different publications. Nevertheless, the advantages still hold.

According to the NYC Council, the mayor must provide a proposed budget in the line item style, but also must include explanations for different programs, the condition of the city, the level of debt, and the problems with expenditure and taxation that the city faces. The budget is then negotiated between the council and the mayor's office until a compromise can be reached. The line item is crucial here because the Council reserves the right to veto any line item it pleases. If the mayor vetoes it, the Council can override it with a 2/3 majority.

The NYC capital budget deals primarily with line items on purchasing property, infrastructural improvements, or the installation of new equipment. It also covers all maintenance on infrastructure of any kind. In NYC, the first set of concepts are definitions. They deal with terms such as adjustments, expenditures and re-appropriation. There ca be no confusion in these terms, and definitions are detailed. A table of contents is required that lays out all the city's agencies that are purchasing equipment or otherwise making capital investments. The remainder is a list of items, typical of the line item. Hence, you can find any NYC office within a few seconds and see what they are spending on capital goods.

For the police department, for example, the executive budget there is strictly line item, though with some explanatory text. The text, it should be noted, is strictly descriptive. It ...

Solution Summary

Examples of organizations that uses line items are determined. The items appealed to you is determined.