It is true that the final budget reinvests in some programs and services to achieve an overall slight increase in General Fund appropriations. This reinvestment was made possible by using unspent dollars from last year’s budget, budget gimmicks, the reliance on tuition increases and fees, as well as reductions in other areas of the budget. However, state investments in most areas of the budget—including education—are failing to keep up after years of budget cuts.
There are two primary vantage points for analyzing the final budget and making comparisons over time. One method is to measure the final budget against the actual dollars that were appropriated last year in the 2013 budget. The other method measures the final budget against the continuation—or base—budget, which reflects the dollars needed in the next year to maintain current service levels. The Governor’s Office of State Budget and Management, which is headed by Art Pope, collaborates with the various departments and agencies to determine the continuation requirements.
So, which vantage point makes for the best comparison? Read More