logo
HUGO WALL SCHOOL OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS

PAdm 865: State and Local Government Finance

3 Credit Hours

Prerequisites:
Public Administration 765: Public Sector Economics

Course Objectives:

  • Learn that fiscal policies guide financial practice
  • Recognize the institutions and roles involved in taxing and spending
  • Understand the environment and processes of public allocation systems and taxation
  • Identify budget theory and budget reforms
  • Learn the basic features of major tax structures
  • Appreciate the fiscal linkages between federal, state, and local governments
  • Apply basic budget analysis skills
  • Learn that financial documents have to be clear, concise, correct and conform to fiscal policy

Course Description:
Analyzes state and local government expenditure and revenue system; introduces state and local financial administration.

Major Topics Covered:
Students use the textbook and classroom discussion to isolate concepts that could lead to fiscal policy guidelines, and then apply these to a local government budget. A series of assignments allow each student to analyze the revenues, expenditures and fiscal policies of a particular local government.

Course material focuses on:
Fiscal Transparency
Public Finance: allocation, distribution and stabilization
Budget Basics

  • What is a budget?
  • Budget cycle and process
  • Budget elements
  • Calculating budget metrics: shares, percentage change, compound annual growth, inflation

Budget Institutions and Roles

  • Institutional analysis
  • Theories of budget actors

Budget Design and Analysis

  • Budget formats and reform
  • Performance based budgeting
  • Cost analysis
  • Doing break-even analysis

Capital Budgeting and the Time Value of Money

  • Capital budgeting
  • Cost benefit analysis
  • Calculating time value of money

Tax Criteria

  • Tax Principles
  • Applications

Income Taxation

  • Personal income tax structure and behavior
  • Local income tax structure and behavior
  • Corporate income tax structure and behavior

Consumption Taxation

  • General sales tax structure and behavior
  • Excise taxes

Property Taxation

  • Concepts and types
  • Calculations
  • Appraisal and assessment
  • Deviations from uniform assessment
  • Limits and controls
  • Special issues: school finance and taxpayer resistance

Collecting and Forecasting Revenues

  • Collections
  • Forecasting issues
  • Applying forecasting methods
  • Assessing forecast accuracy

Public Pricing

  • Enterprise operations
  • Gaming activity
  • User fees and service charges

Intergovernmental Fiscal Relations

  • Diversity in governments
  • Coordination needs
  • Transfer of spending power - trends and developments
  • Mandates

Cash Management

  • Purpose
  • Cash flows
  • Investments

Debt Management

  • Purpose
  • Issuance
  • Management

Financial Statements

  • Overview financial statements for government and nonprofit organizations
  • Basic applications and analysis

Government contracting with nonprofits

  • Procurement issues
  • Applications

A major part of the course is a budget project that is designed to advance each student’s ability to analyze a budget and to present findings in a concise, factual report. Students use a local government budget to find answers to several questions as a way to gain some familiarity with the document, and then they have to review the budget according to the Government Finance Officers Association’s (GFOA) budget review criteria. In major spreadsheet assignments, students prepare a budget analysis that focuses on budget process and budgetary outcomes.