Sunday, December 18, 2011

Comparing and Contrasting Levels of Government

UK central government expenditure projection f...Image via Wikipedia

Budgets for the three levels of government often perform the same regardless of the scope of government though there could be variations in the size of earmarked budgetary allocations according to demand and population. According to Mikesell (2011), it all depends on how the entity pays particular attention to the demands and foundations of the institution to be funded. Budget allocation is the prerogative of select government appropriation officials who often debate on subjects related to what to spend, where to spend, when to spend, and how to spend. At the federal level, it is Congress that debates on government budgetary needs before sending their final bill to the president for approval. In the end, the president may approve it by signing it into law or veto it out-rightly. In the U.S., there are financing committees known as the Senate Finance and House and Ways Means committees that have leverage over federal tax and revenue measures (Mikesell, 2011). In essence, as a measure of easing work, the appropriation committee gets help from subcommittees that assist in making the necessary budget for federal operations. In the U.S., the two largest federal budget entitlements are Social Security and Medicare that are primarily for the elderly. Medicaid, a program that has been established to serve the needy receives 12.5 percent mandatory spending and is the third largest entitlement. Most government spending comes from tax cuts (Mikesell, 2011).

At the state and local governments, expenditures are geared towards general public needs and that is the delivery of health and sanitary needs, educational enrichment, and welfare and public safety measures. Unlike the national government that has a broader reach in international affairs related to dispute resolution, state governments put greater consideration to the attainment of fiscal stability by tending to the needs of local governments. The largest recipient of local government expenditure goes to primary and secondary education (Mikesell, 2011). Public welfare programs receive the largest share of state budgets. Governments-federal, state, and local-generate their expenditures from taxes levied from income taxes, payroll taxes, capital gains taxes, wealth taxes, property taxes, corporate taxes, and estate and excise taxes (Taxes and Government Spending, 2011). A state may use innovative ideas of dispensing its money without causing harm to the rest of the national economy.

At the local level, departmental heads prepare Christmas lists that are devoid of executive guidance and at times unreliable in context. Some important features that make local governments perform well in their fiscal policies when executed efficiently include choices and responsiveness, citizen participation in decision-making, accountability, improved revenue mobilization, and easier monitoring of results (Shah, 2007).


Mikesell, J. (2011). Fiscal administration: Analysis and applications for the public sector (8th Ed.). Boston, MA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Taxes and government spending (2011). Retrieved from

Shah, A. (Ed., 2007). Public sector governance and accountability series: Local budgeting. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. World Bank. Washington, DC

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