Budget Reform for the Federal Government

T-AFMD-88-13: Published: Jun 7, 1988. Publicly Released: Jun 7, 1988.

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

GAO discussed budget reform issues and outlined four changes to improve the legislative process, including: (1) streamlining the budget process; (2) restructuring the budget; (3) improving budget cost reporting; and (4) upgrading the quality of budget numbers. GAO found that: (1) the nation's biggest fiscal problem was the federal budget deficit; (2) the deficit reached an all-time high in 1986 of $221 billion; (3) Congress' quick-fix methods to reduce the deficit could lead to unrealistic approaches to budgeting; (4) budget-related activities took up too much committee time and lacked procedural discipline; (5) missed deadlines for enacting appropriations bills compounded the problems, while omnibus continuing resolutions placed restrictions on the President's veto options; (6) the current cash-based unified budget made no distinction between investment and noninvestment expenditures, led to unsound deficit reduction strategies, biased the budget against capital investments, distorted credit program costs, and masked trust- and nontrust-fund fiscal relationships; and (7) budget reporting cost information did not include some major future liabilities in the budget totals. GAO believes that: (1) biennial budgeting could reduce the congressional budget work load and allow more time for oversight activities; (2) a four-part budget could establish deficit targets for operating activities, financing targets for capital activities, and total financing targets for fiscal policies; (3) budgetary information that distinguished between trust and nontrust amounts would prevent masking of important fiscal relationships and trends; (4) the federal government should identify and annually appropriate subsidy credit program costs for new direct and guaranteed loans; (5) each agency should record the budget authority to fund annual accrued employee benefit liability and pension funds' unfunded liabilities; (6) the budget should include the use of noncash assets to finance programs; (7) budget timeliness, consistency, and accuracy need improvement; and (8) upgrading agency financial management systems would improve budget information.

Jul 21, 2016

Jun 23, 2016

May 12, 2016

Apr 14, 2016

Mar 4, 2016

Oct 30, 2015

Sep 9, 2015

Aug 17, 2015

Jul 9, 2015

Apr 27, 2015

Looking for more? Browse all our products here