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Appendix II: The Budget Process

The following phases of the budget cycle are usually crucial as "points of access" for presenting the union's priorities:

Seven to nine months before the new fiscal year

The jurisdiction's chief executive (mayor, county executive, or governor) releases projections of revenues and expenditures for the upcoming fiscal year. At this point, the union can make general recommendations concerning wage increases, staffing levels, and types of public services delivered.

Six months before the new fiscal year

Departments submit their "wish lists" to the jurisdiction's budget official. The union should try to present its priority list to the budget official and staff responsible for the relevant parts of the budget.

Four months before the new fiscal year

The chief executive finalizes and approves the executive budget and accompanying budget message. Budget briefings can be requested as a means of exchanging opinions between the executive and the union.

Three months before the new fiscal year

The executive budget is being debated by the legislative branch (city council, county council, or state legislature) and public hearings are scheduled. Legislative members should be contacted and made aware of the union's position. Testimony for public hearings should be carefully prepared so that it is clear which issues are being supported and which opposed. The union should lobby sympathetic members of the legislative body to introduce amendments that prevent budget cuts or additional funding.

These are the general steps followed by most jurisdictions. Some jurisdictions may offer additional opportunities for union input.