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Key Budget Terms
The below terms come up the most in government budgeting. Knowing these terms will help you understand the federal budget.
- Appropriations- Act of Congress that allows a federal entity to incur obligations and make payments from the Treasury Department, usually for a set period of time.
- Authorization- Act of Congress that establishes or continues a federal program.
- Budget Receipts- Money collected from the public, including taxes, court fines, certain licence fees, etc.
- Expenditure- The amount of money actually spent. Expenditures rarely match the actual appropriations for the specific year since some expenditures can include money allocated from previous years' budgets.
- Deficit- The amount where outlays exceed budget receipts.
- Fiscal Year- The accounting year the budget covers. The federal fiscal year starts on October 1 and ends on September 30.
- Obligation- Binding agreement to pay for goods/services/studies/products, etc.
- Outlay- Liquidation or disbursement of cash for an obligation.
- Sequestration- A procedure to cancel funding within the budget, usually because of spending limits. Money that has been sequestrated cannot be used for obligations or outlays.
- Surplus- The amount where budget receipts exceed outlays.