Download Legislatures and the Budget Process: The Myth of Fiscal by J. Wehner PDF

By J. Wehner

The legislative 'power of the handbag' is a crucial constitutional precept throughout modern democracies. but, nationwide legislatures range of their method of financial keep watch over. what's the function of legislatures within the funds technique? Why does this function fluctuate throughout democratic international locations? Are strong assemblies a possibility to the prudent administration of public funds? This unheard of survey of legislative budgeting tackles those questions utilizing quantitative facts and case stories. The research unearths a notable edition within the budgetary function of nationwide legislatures throughout modern democracies, that is encouraged by way of colonial history in addition to present political dynamics. It additionally reveals constant facts that strong legislatures are linked to larger public spending than people with constrained authority. in accordance with in-depth debts of primary reforms to the funds strategy in Sweden and South Africa, Legislatures and the funds strategy explores how the strain among legislative authority and financial self-discipline could be reconciled.

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Although there are variations and idiosyncrasies, it is possible to distinguish three broad groups of reversion scenarios across countries: zero spending, last year’s approved budget or the executive budget proposal. In some countries, spending reverts to zero when legislative approval of the appropriations is delayed beyond the start of the fiscal year. In the US, constitutional provisions prescribe that ‘No money shall be drawn from the treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law’ (article I, section 9, clause 7).

For instance, a fiscally conservative legislature with an ideal budget such as L3 could approve exactly this budget no matter whether it has unfettered powers or is subject to any of the restrictions discussed so far. However, common pool resource theory suggests that a legislature has an in-built tendency to be relatively more profligate than the executive. This is because the pro-spending bias is an increasing function of the number of decision makers (Weingast et al. 1981; Von Hagen and Harden 1995).

This, however, leaves the executive worse off than with outcome s. The executive would be unwise to negotiate a compromise unless it can ensure that legislators are not going to renege and approve amendments following the tabling of the draft budget. The main conclusion from this section is that amendment powers impact on the shape of a legislature’s feasible set of budgetary choices. Restricted amendment powers limit the potential for legislative choice, since the budget proposal in effect fixes either a total expenditure ceiling, which can be more or less binding, or a ceiling on each item contained in the budget.

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