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Site Glossary
Term Definition
Account An independent budget and accounting entity with a self-balancing set of accounts representing all related resources, obligations and reserves. Most accounts are set up in state law to isolate activities. See the Office of Financial Management Fund Reference Manual.
Accrue To record revenues and expenditures/expenses when they meet the recognition criteria of the fund type involved regardless of when the cash activity occurs.
Accrual Basis The basis of accounting whereby revenues are recognized when earned and measurable regardless of when collected; and expenses are recorded on a matching basis when incurred. All proprietary and fiduciary funds use the accrual basis of accounting
Actual An accounting term used with respect to revenues, expenditure, or staff full‐time equivalents (FTEs) in the accounting records of the state. For revenues, this term means money collected by the state as cash or accrued revenues as opposed to estimated (allotted or planned) revenues. For expenditures, this term means payments disbursed or accrued obligations to pay as opposed to estimated (allotted or planned) expenditures. For staff FTEs, this term means positions filled by staff employed and compensated as opposed to estimated (allotted or planned) staff. Actual revenues, expenditures, and staff are associated with a particular month and fiscal year in monitoring reports.
Agency Financial Reporting System (AFRS) The statewide accounting system maintained by the Office of Financial Management. AFRS is the state of Washington's official accounting system.
Agency (Agy) Every state agency, office, board, commission, department, state institution, or state institution of higher education. A unique three‐character numeric code is used to designate each state agency.
Allocation A part of a lump‐sum appropriation that is designated for expenditure by specific governmental units and/or for specific purposes, activities, or objects.
Allotment For revenues, expenditures, or staff full‐time equivalents (FTEs), this term represents estimated (planned) amounts organized by month within a fiscal year in the accounting records of the state.
Appropriation A legislative authorization for an agency to make expenditures for specific purposes from designated resources available or estimated to be available during a specified time period.
Biennium Two-year period. The Washington State fiscal biennium is from July 1 of odd-numbered years to June 30, two years later.
Bill A proposed law presented to the Legislature for consideration.
Bond A debt instrument issued through a formal legal procedure and secured either by the pledge of specific revenues or by general credit of the state.
Bow Wave Any additional cost (or savings) that occurs in the future because a budget item in the current biennium is not fully implemented.
Budget A plan of financial operation embodying an estimate of proposed expenditures for a given period and the proposed means of financing them.
Budget Unit (Bud Unit) A general term describing specific activities within an agency subprogram. A three‐character alpha‐numeric code is used to designate each budget unit.
Budgeted Funds Funds that are subject to the appropriation and/or allotment process.
Capital Budget Appropriations made to state and local agencies for building and construction.
Carryforward Level A projected expenditure level for each biennial budget which is mechanically calculated by adjusting current appropriations by the bow wave impact of items assumed in existing appropriations (costs or savings). For example, accounting for the biennial cost of a new program that was funded beginning in the second year of the biennium is a common bow wave item.
Caseload The number of persons expected to meet entitlement requirements and require the services of public assistance programs, state correctional institutions, state correctional noninstitutional supervision, state institutions for juvenile offenders, the common school system, long‐term care, medical assistance, foster care, and adoption support.
Cash Basis A basis for accounting whereby revenues are recorded only when received and expenses are recorded only when paid without regard to the period in which they were earned or incurred.
Certificate of Participation (COP) Alternative financing method authorized by the Legislature and administered by the State Treasurer. (COPs for equipment do not require legislative authorization.) A COP typically has a revenue stream to pay the debt service for the capital project.
Close The terms "close" (of fiscal period which include month, year, and biennium) and "phase" refer to processes involved in finalizing financial records and preparing final financial reports. According to Office of Financial Management (OFM) policy\manuals, there are four phases for closing fiscal years and biennia. See http://ofm.wa.gov/policy/90.20.htm for a description of phases and the fiscal year‐end cutoff procedures involved in the closing process.
CL (Current Law) Budget No new legislation is required for enactment of the budget. See RCW 43.88.030.
Debt Limit Washington's legal restriction on the amount that can be paid for debt service (payments of principal and interest) on certain forms of state debt (Article VIII of the Washington State Constitution and RCW 39.42.130).
Dedicated Accounts Accounts set up by law to receive revenue from a specific source and to be spent for a specific purpose.
Enacted Legislation that passed both the House and the Senate and that was signed by the Governor. Enacted budgets typically differ from legislatively passed budgets because of governor vetoes. Enacted budgets also may differ from legislatively passed budgets because of linkages to other legislation that do not pass which create “lapse” situations in which conditional appropriations are voided.
Engrossed Bill A bill which reflects all amendments adopted in the house of its origin.
Entity The basic or summary units upon which accounting and/or financial reporting activities are focused. This includes Agency, Program, Subprogram, and Budget Unit.
Estimates A synonym for allotments.
ESHB Engrossed Substitute House Bill
ESSB Engrossed Subsitute Senate Bill
Expenditure Authority The official allotment plus amendments for unanticipated receipts and special allocations.
Expenditure Limit Initiative 601, enacted by the voters in 1993, established an expenditure limit for the state general fund. Under legislation enacted in 2005 and taking effect for 2007‐09 and thereafter, the state expenditure limit applies to the state general fund and five additional “related funds”. The funds subject to the limit are: General Fund‐State (GF‐S), Health Services Account‐State (HSA); Violence Reduction and Drug Enforcement Account‐State (VRDE); Public Safety and Education Account‐State (PSEA), including the Equal Justice Subaccount (EJA); Water Quality Account‐State (WQA); and Student Achievement Fund‐State (SAF). See RCW 43.135.
Expenditures Disbursements and accruals for the specified period.
Fee A fee is a charge for the beneift of a service or to cover the cost of a regulatory program or the costs of administering a program for whcih the fee payer benefits. Other charges that are categorized as fees include tolls and tuition. Fees must be authorized in statute. The Legislature may set the rates in statute or authorize a state agency to set rates using administrative procedures.
Fiscal Note A statement of the estimated fiscal impact of proposed legislation. Fiscal Notes are prepared by the affected agencies and the OFM.
Fiscal Period Any period at the end of which a governmental unit determines its financial position and the results of its operations. This includes month, fiscal year, and biennium.
Fiscal Year (FY) In Washington State, a 12‐month period extending from July 1 of one calendar year to June 30 of the next calendar year.
Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) Unit of measurement used to identify staffing levels. One FTE equals 2,088 hours of paid staff time per fiscal year.
Functional Area Grouping of state agencies by type of function (e.g., Natural Resources).
Fund An independent budget and accounting entity with a self-balancing set of accounts representing all related resources, obligations and reserves. Most accounts are set up in state law to isolate activities. See the Office of Financial Management Fund Reference Manual.
Fund Balance The excess of the assets of a fund over its liabilities and reserves. For governmental funds, fund balance represents the excess of beginning balance and estimated revenues for the period over liabilities, reserves, and appropriations for the period.
General Fund State (GFS-S) Refers to the basic account that receives revenue from Washington's sales, property, business and occupation, and other general taxes and is spent for operations such as public schools, social services, and corrections.
General Obligation Bonds Bonds whose repayment is guaranteed by the "full faith and credit" of the state.
HB House Bill
Higher Education Non‐Appropriated Funds Institutions of Higher Education are not required to include several of their Non‐Appropriated funds in their expenditure and staffing estimates. Fund codes for these Non‐Appropriated funds are 145, 147, 148, 443, and 505. See the Office of Financial Management Fund Reference Manual. These Non‐Appropriated funds are included in expenditure and staffing actuals.
Item The lowest level of data available in legislative budgets. Used to describe a discrete budget request – similar to a decision package.
Item Group High‐level category used to consolidate budget items. See carryforward level, maintenance level, and policy level.
LEAP Legislative Evaluation and Accountability Program. A joint committee that serves as the Legislature's independent source of information and technology with respect to budgets and revenue.
Legislative Budget Notes Document providing detail about the biennial operating, transportation and capital budgets.
Maintenance Level A projected expenditure level representing the estimated cost of providing currently authorized services in the ensuing biennium. It is calculated by using the carry forward level and making adjustments for the forecasted changes in the entitlement caseload/enrollment and other mandatory expenses. This number establishes a base from which policy changes are made to create a new budget.
Major Source The high level grouping from which revenues/receipts are derived (e.g., taxes). A two-character numeric code is used to designate each major source.
NGF-C NGT + Carbon Includes General Fund – State, General Fund – Governor’s Emergency, Education Legacy Trust Account – State, WA Opportunity Pathways Account – State, Pension Funding Stabilization Account – State, Dedicated McCleary Penalty Acct – State, Carbon Pollution Reduction Account – State, Public Safety & Education Account – State, Equal Justice Subaccount of the PSEA – State, Water Quality Account – State, Violence Reduction/Drug Enforcement – State, Student Achievement Fund – State, Health Services Account – State
NGF-D NGF-T + Budget Stabilization Includes General Fund – State, General Fund – Governor’s Emergency, Education Legacy Trust Account – State, WA Opportunity Pathways Account – State, Pension Funding Stabilization Account – State, Dedicated McCleary Penalty Acct – State, Budget Stabilization Account – State, Public Safety & Education Account – State, Equal Justice Subaccount of the PSEA – State, Water Quality Account – State, Violence Reduction/Drug Enforcement – State, Student Achievement Fund – State, Health Services Account – State
NGF-H NGF-T + Tuition Includes General Fund – State, General Fund – Governor’s Emergency, Education Legacy Trust Account – State, WA Opportunity Pathways Account – State, Pension Funding Stabilization Account – State, Dedicated McCleary Penalty Acct – State, Institution of Higher Ed-Operating Fees Account - Non-Appropriated, Public Safety & Education Account – State, Equal Justice Subaccount of the PSEA – State, Water Quality Account – State, Violence Reduction/Drug Enforcement – State, Student Achievement Fund – State, Health Services Account – State
NGF-L Funds Subject to Limit Includes General Fund-State, General Fund – Governor’s Emergency, Public Safety & Education Account – State, Equal Justice Subaccount of the PSEA – State, Water Quality Account – State, Violence Reduction/Drug Enforcement – State, Student Achievement Fund – State, Health Services Account - State
NGF-O Funds Subject to Outlook Includes General Fund – State, General Fund – Governor’s Emergency, Education Legacy Trust Account – State, WA Opportunity Pathways Account – State, Public Safety & Education Account – State, Equal Justice Subaccount of the PSEA – State, Water Quality Account – State, Violence Reduction/Drug Enforcement – State, Student Achievement Fund – State, Health Services Account – State
NGF-T Near General Fund Total Includes General Fund – State, General Fund – Governor’s Emergency, Education Legacy Trust Account – State, WA Opportunity Pathways Account – State, Pension Funding Stabilization Account – State, Dedicated McCleary Penalty Acct – State, Public Safety & Education Account – State, Equal Justice Subaccount of the PSEA – State, Water Quality Account – State, Violence Reduction/Drug Enforcement – State, Student Achievement Fund – State, Health Services Account – State
Near General Fund Accounts related to the state General Fund as defined in RCW 43.88.055; includes the Washington Opportunity Pathways Account and Education Legacy Trust Account.
NL (New Law) Budget New legislation is required for enactment of the budget.
Non‐Appropriated Funds Moneys that can be expended without legislative appropriation. Only funds in accounts specifically established in state law as being exempt from appropriation fall into this category. Nonappropriated accounts can be either budgeted (and subject to OFM allotment approval) or non-budgeted.
Non‐Budgeted Funds Funds that are not subject to the appropriation or allotment processes.
Object As used in expenditure classification, this term applies to the character of the article purchased or the service obtained (rather than the purpose for which the article or service was purchased or obtained). Examples are salaries and employee benefits. A one‐character alpha code is used to designate each object of expenditure.
OFM Office of Financial Management. The chief executive agency for evaluating the budget, preparing fiscal notes, and providing fiscal analysis to the Governor.
Omnibus Budget Bill A spending bill that sets the budget of many state agencies at once.
Operating Budget Two-year plan for funding ongoing activities of state agencies. Includes appropriations found in the Omnibus Operating Budget and proposed related non‐appropriated expenditures.
Performance Audit A systematic process of objectively obtaining and evaluating evidence regarding the performance of an organization, program, function, or activity. Evaluation is made in terms of its economy and efficiency of operations and effectiveness in achieving desired goals. The performance audit function provides an independent review of management’s performance and the degree to which actual performance meets pre‐stated goals.
Performance Measure A "quantitative description" of an activity’s work and results. Every activity is supposed to have a performance measure to show how it is performing, but not all of them have measures, not all measures are satisfactory, and even good measures may not have data.
Phase The terms "phase" and "close" (of fiscal period which include month, year, and biennium) refer to processes involved in finalizing financial records and preparing final financial reports. According to Office of Financial Management (OFM) policy manuals, there are four phases for closing fiscal years and biennia. See http://ofm.wa.gov/policy/90.20.htm for a description of phases and the fiscal year‐end cutoff procedures involved in the closing process.
Policy Level The authorized spending level for the next biennium is calculated by taking the maintenance level and making a series of discrete decisions that increase or decrease the budget of an agency. Examples include: creating a new program; eliminating a current program; increasing or decreasing vendor or employee payment rates; expanding or contracting program eligibility; expanding or contracting the value of services provided by a program; and increasing or decreasing the administrative costs of a program.
Program (Pgm) Any of the major activities of an agency expressed as a primary function or organizational unit. A three‐character alpha‐numeric code is used to designate each program within a state agency.
Project Identifies specific capital construction activities based on the cost and longevity of the work to be accomplished. Capital projects construct either new facilities or make significant, long‐term renewal improvements to existing facilities. They are funded in agency capital budgets from funds specifically set aside for capital purposes (such as highway and other dedicated funds, the proceeds of bond sales, or other long‐term financing contracts). A six‐digit number is used to identify each capital project. The format is YY‐C‐PPP, where: YY corresponds to the starting fiscal year of proposed implementation; C is the project class; and PPP is the project identifier within project class and agency.
Project Class Represents the classification of a capital project, such as 1 = Preservation; 2 = Program; 3= Alternate Financing (Lease); and 4 = Grant.
Project Description This narrative briefly describes the nature of the project, such as, why it is necessary, what it is, where it is, and what it will do (for example, "this project will renovate three wards at Western State Hospital in order to meet fire/safety requirements"), as well as identifying the benefits to the agency in terms of increased or new service benefits the agency will be able to provide to the public or its clients.
Provisio Language in budget bills that places conditions and limitations on the use of appropriations.
Reappropriation Capital budget appropriation that reauthorizes the unexpended portion of previously appropriated funds. Capital projects often overlap fiscal periods, and it is necessary to reauthorize some expenditure authority to ensure project completion.
Recast Data Historical data that have been restructured to match the current budget structure within an agency.
Result Ten high‐level outcomes that citizens expect from government.
Revenues Amounts received in a state fund from taxes, fees, licenses, federal grants and other sources, less refunds.
Revised Code of Washington (RCW) The Revised Code of Washington is the compilation of all permanent state laws now in effect. It is a collection of session laws (enacted by the Legislature and signed by the Governor or enacted via the initiative process), arranged by topic, with amendments added and repealed laws removed. It does not include temporary laws, such as appropriation acts.
Revolving Accounts An internal service fund established to carry out a cycle of operations. The amounts expended from the account are restored to the account from earnings from operations or by transfers from other accounts, so that the account is always in tact.
SB Senate Bill
Session Offical meeting of the Legislature. The Constitution provides for a 105-day regular session during odd numbered years and a 60-day regular session during even-numbered years each biennium.
Source The detailed origin from which revenues/receipts are derived. The first two characters identify the Major Source.
Special Session A session of no more than 30 days, convened by the Governor or the Legislature, following adjournment of the regular session. The Legislature, upon two-thirds vote of all members, may call itself into special session.
Statute A law enacted by the legislature.
Striker or Striking Amendment Amendment removing everything after the title and inserting a whole new bill.
Subobject A refined breakdown of object of expenditures relating to particular items or item categories. A two‐character alpha code is used to designate each subobject.
Subprogram (SubPgm) A general term describing specific activities within an agency program. A four character alpha‐numeric code is used to designate subprogram.
Substitute A version of a bill offered by a committee in the first house. If adopted, the substitute replaces the originial bill or resolution. The floor and the second house cannot offer substitutes.
Supplemental Budget Changes in the second year of the biennium to funds allocated in the original capital, operating or transportation budgets.
Total Budgeted Funds A roll‐up fund for reports that includes all funds that are subject to the appropriation and/or allotment process.
Transportation Budget Appropropriations for highways, bridges, ferries, transit, vehicle licensing and traffic enforcement. This includes both operating and capital appropriations. It also includes proposed related non‐appropriated expenditures.
Version An expenditure proposal scenario prepared by agencies, the Governor, or the Legislature (e.g., Governor Proposed Budget).
Veto The Governor has power to reject entire bills, sections of bills, and appropriations items. This removes the affected material as if it had never been there. The Legislature can override a Governor's veto with a two-thirds vote of both houses.