Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Public budgeting allocates public resources. This allocation function means that budgeting lies at the very heart of politics. Who gets what and when from the government in financial terms is what politicians and publics alike care about. It is distinct from “private” budgeting in several respects. First, in all but one-person dictatorships, public budgeting is a collective decision. The processes used to make decisions vary. Second, decision makers do not spend their own money. They must raise these funds somehow. The most common device is taxation. Governments may also make money from the management of public property, such as land or firms, as well as from profits that arise from the sale of public resources, such as copper or oil. They may also borrow money to fund current expenses. Finally, the question of whether budgeted funds are being used in the public interest is an ongoing theme that a private ...