Budget Issues:

Current Status and Recent Trends of State Biennial and Annual Budgeting

AFMD-87-53FS: Published: Jul 15, 1987. Publicly Released: Jul 15, 1987.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO surveyed state governments to assess biennial and annual budgeting trends, practices, and experiences.

GAO found that: (1) 31 states are on annual budget cycles, while 19 are on biennial cycles; (2) 7 of the states on biennial cycles cannot have annual cycles because their legislatures meet biennially; (3) 24 of the states using annual budgeting have, at some point, used biennial budgeting; (4) in the last 20 years, 12 states have changed to annual budgeting, while only 3 have changed to biennial budgeting; (5) 10 of the states with biennial budgeting allow their governors to make unilateral spending adjustments, while 4 states allow their governors to make unilateral limited revenue adjustments; (6) states using biennial budgeting reported that off-year budget adjustments consumed less time than regular budgeting; and (7) the most commonly cited results of annual budget cycles included improved revenue and spending forecasts and an increase in time spent on budget activities.

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