State government is a gigantic enterprise, and the more it grows the more complex it gets. Budgeting is a major undertaking on its own, as JLF’s Sarah Curry explains here.

Each biennium begins with a set of budget instructions, which vary slightly to meet the objectives of the current administration while still adhering to the State Budget Act.

The budget instructions for 2015-17 ask agencies to prioritize their requests to focus on gaps and unmet needs for critical services. Agencies also have been asked to identify efficiencies and other ways to save in their budget requests. If an agency wishes to increase spending, it also must offer reductions in other areas for a net 2 percent reduction overall.

So, how much will the next biennium’s budget be, and will there be a surplus or deficit? Only time will tell. According to the budget timetable, the Office of State Budget and Management begins meeting with agencies this month to share the governor’s draft budget recommendations. Agencies will then have time to provide feedback on the recommendations.

The governor is scheduled to finalize his 2015-17 budget recommendations by the end of February with updated enrollment and revenue figures. He is scheduled to release his budget to the public and the legislature in March 2015.

About those instructions Sarah references and links to in her piece: they’re 60 pages long. Yikes.