Memos to the Governor: An Introduction to State Budgeting, Second Edition, Updated
by Dall W. Forsythe
foreword by Mario Cuomo
Georgetown University Press, 2004
Paper: 978-1-58901-019-2
Library of Congress Classification HJ2053.A1F67 2004
Dewey Decimal Classification 352.482130973


With a new foreword by New York's former governor, Mario Cuomo, this revised and updated edition of Memos to the Governor is a concise guidebook that takes the reader behind governmental fiscal gobbledygook to explain in clear, understandable prose the technical, economic, and political dynamics of budget making. At all levels of government, the budget has become the battleground for policymaking and politics. This book helps current and future public administrators untangle the knotty processes of budget preparation and implementation.

Dall W. Forsythe, who served as budget director under Governor Cuomo, outlines the budgeting process through a series of memos from a budget director to a newly elected governor—a format that helps readers with little or no background to understand complicated financial issues. He covers all of the steps of budget preparation, from strategy to execution, explaining technical vocabulary, and discussing key topics including baseline budgeting, revenue forecasting, and gap-closing options.

Forsythe brings fresh insights into such issues as the importance of a multiyear strategic budget plan, the impact of the business cycle on state budgets, the tactical problems of getting budgets adopted by legislatures, and, of course, the relationship between governor and budget officer. Memos to the Governor is a painless, practical introduction to budget preparation for students of and practitioners in public administration and public-sector financial management.

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