Government budget

Government document presenting the government's proposed revenues and spending for a fiscal year

A government budget is a document prepared by the government and/or other political entity presenting its anticipated tax revenues (Inheritance tax, income tax, corporation tax, import taxes) and proposed spending/expenditure (Healthcare, Education, Defence, Roads, State Benefit) for the coming financial year.In most parliamentary systems, the budget is presented to the legislature and often requires approval of the legislature. Through this budget, the government implements economic policy and realizes its program priorities. Once the budget is approved, the use of funds from individual chapters is in the hands of government, ministries and other institutions. Revenues of the state budget consist mainly of taxes,customs duties, fees and other revenues. State budget expenditures cover the activities of the state, which are either given by law or the constitution. The budget in itself does not appropriate funds for government programs,hence need for additional legislative measures.

Credible budgets, which are defined as statutory fixed term (generally one year) budgets auditable by parliament, were first introduced in the Netherlands in 1572, England in 1689, France in 1830, Denmark, Piedmont and Prussia in 1848, Portugal in 1851, Sweden in 1866, Austria in 1867, and Spain in 1876.[1] Credible budgets had two main effects: 1. They made parliament more likely to approve new taxation, and 2. They enhanced wartime military spending and increased the chance of victory in war.[1][2]

The practice of presenting budgets and fiscal policy to parliament was initiated by Sir Robert Walpole in his position as Chancellor of the Exchequer, in an attempt to restore the confidence of the public after the chaos unleashed by the collapse of the South Sea Bubble in 1720.[3] Thirteen years later, Walpole announced his fiscal plans to bring in an excise tax on the consumption of a variety of goods and services, such as wine and tobacco, and to lessen the taxation burden on the landed gentry. This provoked a wave of public outrage, including fierce denunciations from the Whig peer William Pulteney, who wrote a pamphlet entitled - the first time the word 'budget' was used in connection with the government's fiscal policies. The proposed Excise Bill was eventually rescinded.[4]

The budget opened, Or an answer to a pamphlet. Concerning the duties on wine and tobacco

The institution of the annual account of the budget evolved into practice during the first half of the 18th century and had become well established by the 1760s; George Grenville introduced the Stamp Act in his 1764 budget speech to the House of Commons of Great Britain.[5]

The two basic elements of any budget are the revenues and expenses. In the case of the government, revenues are derived primarily from taxes. Government expenses include spending on current goods and services, which economists call government consumption; government investment expenditures such as infrastructure investment or research expenditure; and transfer payments like unemployment or retirement benefits.

Government budgets have economic, political and technical basis. Unlike a pure economic budget, they are not entirely designed to allocate scarce resources for the best economic use. They also have a political basis wherein different interests push and pull in an attempt to obtain benefits and avoid burdens. The technical element is the forecast of the likely levels of revenues and expenses.

A budget can be classified according to function or according to flexibility.

The relationships between the federal government and the states and localities are complex and are not well described by a simple look at expenditures. In some cases, the federal government pays[6] for a program and gives broad discretion to the states as to how to carry out the mandate. In other cases, the federal government essentially dictates all the terms, and the states simply administer the program.

Government budget is a subject of importance for a variety of reasons: