Public Finance and Budgeting – GOVT 462

CG • Section • 01/03/2020 to 06/11/2020 • Modified 07/27/2021

Course Description

Fiscal and military policy, taxation and the budget process in government.


For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.


Government majors within a Politics and Policy Specialization and those pursuing a Government or Politics and Policy minor are required to demonstrate an understanding of a biblical Christian worldview as the foundation for public policy analysis, which comprehends conceptualization, formulation, and implementation of public policy within a federal framework of national and state policy concerns. This policy course requires the student to examine the federal budgetary process as to methodology, taxation and expenditures, politics, and reforms.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Articulate basic economic concepts of public finance and budgeting with the rationale for government involvement in the economy.
  2. Explain the role of budgeting in the administration of government and non-profit organizations.
  3. Describe the fundamentals of the budget cycle in government and non-profit organizations at the federal, state, and local levels.
  4. Describe the major sources of revenue for governments and major expenditures, including the political impact of each.
  5. Evaluate a government or non-profit budget.
  6. Apply a biblical worldview to social welfare and financial management.
  7. Demonstrate practical budget skills, including conducting a break-even analysis, time value of money, calculating fixed and variable costs, adjusting for inflation, and developing budget scenarios.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and lecture presentations/notes

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Discussion Board Forums (4)

Discussion boards are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to complete 4 discussion board posts consisting of 1 thread and 2 replies to classmates’ posts. Threads must contain at least 350 words and replies must contain at least 150 words each. Proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation are expected. Each thread must contain 4 citations in current MLA format. Each reply must contain 2 citations in current MLA format. Acceptable sources include the textbook, Bible, or articles assigned in the course or from other courses.

Article Analyses (2)

The student is required to review and analyze 2 scholarly articles related to course materials. The title of each article is due prior to submitting the completed papers. Each Article Analysis must be at least 1,000 words and cite 7–9 scholarly references in current MLA format. The Article Analyses must be submitted via SafeAssign.

Excel Assignments (5)

In order to provide the student with a practical perspective on budgeting, 5 Excel assignments are due throughout the course. They are designed to hone the budgetary skills required for public budgeting and cover a variety of topics, including break-even analysis, fixed/variable costs, ratio analysis, future value of money, and adjust revenue for inflation. The student must use Excel to complete these assignments.

Budget Project

The student will complete the Budget Project in 3 parts: Government Agency or Organization Name Submission, Rough Draft, and Final Draft. The student will select a local city or county government, a state agency or a nonprofit organization (except schools systems or districts), and prepare an analysis of its budgeting procedures. The student must discuss in detail the process for preparing and approving his/her organization's budget and identify the top 3–5 things this organization can/should do to improve its budget process. Most of the information will come from reviewing the budget documentation the student collects from interviews with key participants and website analyses. For larger organizations, the student may want to focus on 1–2 departments. The student will submit a rough draft of his/her approved organization, and then will use instructor feedback for his/her final draft. There is a minimum requirement of 2,500 words, and the student must cite in current MLA format at least 5 scholarly sources that are no more than 5 years old. This assignment must be submitted via SafeAssign.

Quizzes (2)

The student is required to complete 2 closed-book quizzes, which will consist of 20 randomized multiple-choice and 2 essay questions, and have a 1-hour time limit. Quizzes will test the student on his/her knowledge of budgetary terms and acronyms, as well as budgetary methodology.

Exams (2)

The student is required to complete 2 exams, which will cover conceptual material found in the texts and assigned readings. Both exams are closed-book, will consist of 40 randomized multiple-choice and 2 essay questions, and will have a 2-hour time limit.