Regardless of what political party you belong to, the budget process is one that is critical to any state’s future. You want to be able to prepare a budget that is balanced, realistic, and effective. The following tips can help you do just that.
House and Senate Budget Committees approve spending levels for each subcommittee
Congressional budgeting begins with a budget resolution that sets spending limits for 12 major areas of discretionary spending. These limits do not apply to individual programs. However, the President must sign a final bill into law before it can be implemented.
House and Senate leadership have begun preliminary negotiations on the level of discretionary spending for fiscal year 2023. Both parties are proposing higher defense and nondefense spending authorizations than the administration’s proposed budget. This process will likely take several more weeks, and both chambers may need to delay the appropriations bill until after the August recess.
The House and Senate Appropriations Committees hold hearings and markups on federal spending programs. They are expected to vote on the House’s funding bill for FY 2023 next week. The full Senate is expected to follow, but a roll call vote will not be held until November 14.
After the House and Senate pass bills, they need to be reconciled. The process can be a difficult one, but two senior senators hope to complete the process this year.
The President’s budget lays out relative priorities for federal programs
Whether you’re a member of Congress, a concerned taxpayer or a business leader, the President’s budget lays out relative priorities for federal programs in 2023. It shows how these priorities match up with other proposals in the federal budget, and how they’ll address challenges, meet needs, and transform our country. It also provides revenue projections for the coming year.
The President’s budget includes a variety of programs that make the United States stronger, more agile, and more prosperous. These include investments in renewable energy, sustainability, and R&D. It also provides incentives for semiconductor manufacturing, biobased product manufacturing, and sustainable buildings. These initiatives support our nation’s economic leadership, and provide long-term solutions for a more environmentally-conscious future.
The federal budget also offers key tax benefits for lower- and middle-income families. These benefits will help these families make ends meet. The American Rescue Plan extends the Child Tax Credit for another five years, and includes an increase to the credit amount for children under the age of six. It also provides for expanded Marketplace tax credits, which enable millions of uninsured Americans to obtain coverage.
The reconciliation process works
Using budget reconciliation to pass a bill is not an exact science, but it can be effective. In recent years, Congress has used the process to pass a number of bills, including the Affordable Care Act, health care reform, and large tax cuts. This process allows for expedited consideration of certain spending legislation and taxes.
The Congressional Budget Act of 1974 created a process known as “budget reconciliation” that lets Congress approve changes to spending and revenues by a simple majority vote. It also allows for the quick implementation of proposed changes to laws and policies.
This process is most often used when one party controls the House and the Senate. In 2010, Democrats used the process to pass the Affordable Care Act, while Republicans tried to repeal the legislation.
While there is no statutory requirement to use the budget resolution to create a reconciliation bill, it is a useful tool to move legislation. In addition to budget reconciliation, Congress has also passed concurrent budget resolutions, which set the topline level of funding available to Appropriations Committees.
Effects of Covid-19 on state finances
During a fiscal year of unprecedented volatility, state finances were hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. This jolted state revenues and forced states to close down their economic activity. Several economists predicted a bleak future for state budgets, but state financial performance has exceeded expectations. In fact, the overall number of jobs in July 2022 was back to pre-pandemic levels.
While states remain subject to periodic deficits, they can withstand shortfalls in their annual revenue and expense balances. However, a strong economy is likely to lead to modest tax increases. This would allow for more investments in areas that address current issues as well as structural inequities.
In addition, many states are using Fiscal Recovery Funds to address long-standing racial and economic inequities. Investing in programs that support youth development, education, health, and housing is an important step towards a more equitable future.
The federal government provided a lifeline to states through various stimulus packages. Two of these packages, the American Rescue Plan and the Recovery Act, provided direct flexible funding to states. This money helped states recoup lost services and offset revenue declines. Some states also used this money to fund local and state education initiatives, rebuild unemployment insurance trust funds, and provide bonuses for state employees.
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