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UIC PA 623 - Government Budgeting and Financial Management-Meyers-U of Maryland BC

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POLITICAL SCIENCE 623, FALL 2007 GOVERNMENTAL BUDGETING AND FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT Dr. Roy T. Meyers 318 Public Policy Class: Mondays, 4:30-7 PM Office Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays 1-2:20, and by appointment. You may call if that is more convenient than visiting my office. Office: 410-455-2196 Home: 410-381-4755 Email: [email protected] I usually check email several times a day. This syllabus is posted, with links embedded, at: Course Topics and Expectations This is a course on how U.S. governments--federal, state, and local--acquire and spend money. Roughly one-third of the U.S. economy is allocated directly through government budgets. It is designed to complement other courses in the graduate curriculum in management and policy analysis. If you are interested in additional training about government and nonprofit financial management beyond what this course provides, talk to me about options. People often think about budgeting as a dry and boring subject. In fact, it’s exactly the opposite--though some of the field IS technical, budgeting really involves fundamental issues of public policy, management and politics. We will address those issues throughout the semester, using real-world documents and events. For this year in particular, we are “lucky” in that the budget is the central issue in Maryland politics--that is, the state is facing a structural budget deficit “crisis.” For the last part of the semester, you will roleplay Maryland’s politicians in an attempt to eliminate this deficit. We are also lucky to be the site of a special visit by the Fiscal Wake Up Tour (FWUT), featuring David Walker, the Comptroller General of the U.S. (the head of the Government Accountability Office) and other experts. In preparation for this visit, much of the first two months of the course will provide you with a sophisticated understanding of federal budget policies and institutions. That understanding will benefit you beyond the FWUT event, as the federal government faces very difficult choices over your lives as citizens. The course also explores how budgets are prepared and then executed at the micro level. This is essential knowledge for public managers, elected officials, and those who work with or seek to influence them.The course is highly participatory and realistic. While on occasion I will lecture, during most of the course you will be immersed in actual budget documents and controversies, or cases that abstract from the same. I expect that you will attend class regularly, having completed the readings and assignments before they are covered in class. Class participation will be 20% of your final grade. A variety of activities count as class participation: careful listening, speaking in discussions, roleplaying, and asking questions if you are confused. Similarly, I encourage you to challenge my position if you disagree with it. I will exercise my academic freedom to express my own views at times, and when you vocally disagree, you should be absolutely confident that I will not penalize you. The other 80% of your final grade will be comprised of weekly assignments. I have a strong preference for clear and simple writing. All assignments should be typed and use regular fonts and margins, and generally should not exceed two pages. Occasionally students in previous classes have mentioned to me that they were confused about “what I wanted” in their answers to the assignments. By this they usually meant, “what’s the correct answer to the question?” But in fact, in most assignments there are no "correct answers." Rather, you face uncertain situations and need to come up with a reasonable course of action--there are usually several. Take this opportunity to get used to the typical reality of policy and politics. There is no text for this course; readings are web links, on electronic reserve, or handouts. If you would like recommendations for budget and finance texts, I would be glad to provide some. And if you want to read beyond the required material, ask me for recommendations. Non-handout readings that are not linked in this syllabus are on electronic reserve: Some are from a book that I edited: Roy T. Meyers, Handbook of Government Budgeting, (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1999); these are identified in the syllabus as Handbook. The username is <poli353f07> and the password is <to be supplied in class>; they are case-sensitive. If you have a technical problem accessing a reading, let me know so I can help fix it. While for most assignments it is unnecessary to read beyond the assigned readings, you may go beyond them to learn more. You will find many useful links on my budgeting and policy web pages: American budgeting: budgeting: budgeting: politics, policy, and management: Class Schedule and Assignments9/10 Budget concepts; the basic argument of the Fiscal Wake-Up Tour FY 2008 Budget Mid-Session Review: Read summary (pp.1-7), and scan the rest Congressional Budget Office, The Budget and Economic Outlook: An Update: at the Summary Figure 1 (PDF p. 11, and then read Chapter 1, “Budget Outlook” (PDF pp. 15-37). Definitions of concepts can be found in the following glossaries: 60 Minutes video Read Comptroller General Walker’s presentation from No assignment, but bring your questions about the concepts included in the readings. 9/17 Projecting entitlement (and other) costs; accrual vs. cash accounting Social Security and Medicare Boards of Trustees, “Status of the Social Security and Medicare Programs: a Summary of the 2007 Annual Reports”: James L. Chan, Handbook 14, “The Bases of Accounting for Budgeting and Financial Reporting” Daniel N. Shaviro, 2007. “Benign Fictions? Describing Social Security and Medicare,” from Taxes, Spending, and the U.S.

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