Differing Perceptions of Budget Uncontrollability in State Government

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In the past decade, there has been growing interest and concern about spending controllability at the national level. The United States budget for the fiscal 1980 shows that the percent of total federal outlays that are relatively uncontrollable under present law rose from 64% in 1970 to an estimated 77% in 1980.1 Declining federal budget controllability has been widely discussed by writers such as John Gist, Lance LeLoup, and Murray Weidenbaum and is a topic of concern among those who would like to see the federal budget process as a tool for improved public resource allocation.2 If 77% of the budget is really uncontrollable, the President has grave difficulties in making substantial changes in spending levels or major alterations in program priorities.

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