Economy, Demographics and Taxation
The 2011-12 Budget: The Administration's Revenue Accrual Approach
January 31, 2011
For four of its budget proposals, the administration uses a new approach for accruing (attributing) revenues to each fiscal year. In the administration's budget figures, this approach increases revenues available for the 2011-12 budget process by over $700 million and decreases the 2011-12 minimum funding guarantee for schools and community colleges by $1.5 billion below what it would have been otherwise. We find that the administration's new accrual approach—while imperfectly executed in its forecast—has some merit. It would move state budget accounting closer—in some respects—to generally accepted accounting principles. We fault the administration for not describing the new approach and its implications more clearly in its public budget documents and recommend that the Legislature take steps to require more transparency in the future.