Efficiency in Budget Making

Herbert R. Sands, Fred W. Lindars
1912 The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science  
A budget, to be complete, should not only show the purposes for which appropriations are made but also the sources of revenue to be raised for meeting such appropriations. In this article, however, the revenue side of budget making is not discussed. In a recent message to Congress, President Taft called attention to the fact that, of all the principal nations of the world, the United States is the only one not on a budget basis. The budget of a government is the principal instrument of
more » ... trument of financial and administrative control over its expenditures. Without any such means of control it is not surprising that Senator Aldrich should have stated that, in his belief, the annual cost of our federal government could be reduced $300,000.-000 by applying efficient methods. As is the case with the federal government, practically all of our states also operate without budgets, and as a logical result the extravagance and waste of public funds by state governments has long been a subject of popular criticism. Most American cities have, for many years, conducted their financial housekeeping on a budget basis. The methods employed, however, have been loose and inefficient. Instead of being used as a means for apportioning their funds according to the various needs of the community and insuring their actual application thereto by affording a basis for scientific accounting and auditing, the budgets of many American cities have too often been the means of hiding corruption. The making and passing of the budget has frequently been a carnival of log rolling, each alderman or commissioner inserting items for the special benefit of himself or his constituents and refusing to vote for the items inserted by his fellow-legislators unless they voted for those in which he was interested. The making of a scientific municipal budget was first undertaken in 1906 by the City of New York. The task was approached by way of the health department, that branch of the city's service so closely related to its well-being. The functionalized and segregated budget plan worked out for that department was so successful as an object at NORTH DAKOTA STATE UNIV LIB on May 25, 2015 ann.sagepub.com Downloaded from
doi:10.1177/000271621204100116 fatcat:g6thyex6trevnm5rkykh2jxmo4