Released in conjunction with the Open Government Initiative and efforts to improve transparency in state government budgets and spending, the Briefing Room will be profiling action by the State Budget Committee and the Indiana General Assembly as they prepare to write a balanced budget in the face of restricted state revenues and a slowly recovering economy.
This is the first in a series of Briefing Room posts that will highlight the state budget requests and discuss progress of the next two-year state budget. Check back for continuous updates.
While Indiana’s state budget process is a public matter, budget-related information can often be presented in forms that are difficult to access and hard to understand. The state’s budget documents include constantly changing revenue projections, fluctuating income statements and fund balances, thousand-page revenue reports, multiple budget bills and spending options considered by the General Assembly, and long lists of appropriations and expenses that are paid by the state. All things considered, state budget accounting is necessarily complicated. However, there ought to be a way to break down this budget information so everyone can understand how and where our state tax dollars are being spent.
The state’s budget process, after all, is not so different from an average household’s financial planning practices. Just as in a household, the state examines its income and expenses, sets spending priorities, and tries to save money and make positive investments whenever it can. In Indiana, the General Assembly is responsible for writing the two-year state budget, which is approved by the governor and implemented under the governor’s direction by the State Budget Agency and numerous state agencies.
It is our hope that the Budget Briefs will not only improve citizens’ understanding of the budget writing process, but that they will also prompt engagement in a discourse that will help legislators define the state’s spending priorities. Use the Briefing Room to follow legislators through the budget writing process from planning, to decision making.
What to expect from the Budget Briefs
- Updates from Budget Committee hearings (See the complete hearing schedule>> )
- Budget request presentations (Nov-Dec)
- Agency expense reports (Nov-Dec)
- Revenue forecast documents (Dec)
- Updates as the budget bill moves through House Ways & Means, Senate Appropriations, and the rest of the legislative process (Jan-Apr)
- Final summary of the budget as approved by the General Assembly (May)