The long-range financial strategy created the perfect context for assessing the long-range financial implications of the price of government and the items that typically lead to expenditures in a long-range forecast.
The Price of Government, by David Osborne and Peter Hutchinson, the book that suggested both the price of government revenue model and budgeting for outcomes, suggests that a long-range financial plan should follow the "five by five" model--projecting five numbers (revenues, expenditures, the net difference between revenues and expenditures, beginning fund balance, and ending fund balance) over five years.
While the price of government and budgeting for outcomes methods cover both operational and capital activities, the city still had a gap in pursuing its vision for the longer term with regard to capital investments.
For example, the authors' state, "Frightened by the economic damage done by the Reagan-Bush deficits, voters sent a clear message in the 1992 election," suggesting the price of government had fluctuated too low and the correction was reflected in the election of Bill Clinton.
In fact, I have found myself reaching repeatedly for The Price of Government much like a textbook in recent months.
One thing's for sure: concepts discussed in The Price of Government will drive the debate regarding government spending for the foreseeable future.
Setting the price of government is the first step in determining total revenue; that is, local or "own source" revenues plus intergovernmental revenues.
The price of government is the amount citizens pay in local taxes, fees, and charges from each dollar of personal income.
Arriving at political agreement on the desired price of government early in the budget process, however, is a crucial step in managing today's fiscal challenges.