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The Research Paper will be based on the urban planning topic of Transportation Planning in the United States.

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The research paper is for a course in Urban Planning/Redevelopment as part of a Master’s in Public Administration degree program. Accordingly, this is not a strict logistics research paper as it requires inclusion of political and land-use issue. This research paper must be written from the U.S. perspective as it deals solely with U.S. transportation/urban planning methodologies.

 

The Research Paper will be based on the urban planning topic of Transportation Planning in the United States. Based on your selected urban planning topic, analyze the key issues with the use of exhibits and an appendix.

 

You must include (but are not limited to) a discussion of the historical background and contemporary issues related to the paper topic. You must also include an evaluation regarding the plausible political issues that urban planners could potentially encounter and the potential consequences that could result from decision making. Be sure to apply key concepts from this course in your Research Paper.

 

The Research Paper

Must be 10 double-spaced pages in length (not including title and references pages) and formatted according to APA style.

Must include a separate title page with the following:

Title of paper

Student’s name

Course name and number

Instructor’s name

Date submitted

Must begin with an introductory paragraph that has a succinct thesis statement.

Must address the topic of the paper with critical thought.

Must end with a conclusion that reaffirms your thesis.

Must use at least 10 scholarly sources in addition to the course text.

Must document all sources in APA style.

Must include a separate references page that is formatted according to APA style.

Must include an appendix.

 

Text:

Levy, J. M. (2013). Contemporary urban planning (10th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson-Prentice Hall Press.

 

I am including a reference file which was used to describe the research paper and contains the various headings and subheadings which must be used in the research paper. There is sufficient information in the reference to confirm the type of research paper required.

Transportation Planning USA

Transportation Planning USA

 

Title of paper

Student’s name

Course name and number

Instructor’s name

Date submitted

Abstract

The primary objective of this research paper is to identify paramount issues and challenges with the use of exhibits that widely affects the transportation planning in the United States. The historical background of this study that is entirely based on the earlier form of transportation and transportation planning forms the foundation of the research. Moreover, contemporary issues associated with the transportation and urban planning will be discussed in details to show the challenges and hindrances that the government and other transportation agencies face in their attempts to create and formulate a successful transport plan. Transportation planning and designing is not a one man show and requires collective efforts and inputs from all stakeholders.  Notably, transport planning involves techniques and skills such as land use, traffic, the character of the host community and civil engineering concepts.

 Contents

Abstract 2

Introduction. 4

Historical background of transportation planning. 4

Contemporary issues of transportation planning. 6

Political issues affecting urban transportation planning. 8

Consequences of transportation planning decisions. 10

Summary. 12

Conclusion and Remarks. 12

References. 14

Appendix. 16

 

Introduction

Of recent, we are witnessing climate changes that are happening now and then and have significant impacts on businesses as well as individuals especially when it comes to transportation.  As a result, governments and authorities of various states and countries have to consider a way of building durable transportation infrastructures that cannot be affected by changes in weather. Transport planning comprises of more than one aspect of civil engineering. This knowledge and skills are needed at the local, regional, national and international level to ensure that there is a working transport network regardless of climatic condition, geographical area or the terrain (Levy, (2013). Transport planning comprises of evaluation, assessment, designing of transport facilities in the preparation of future needs to transport people and goods to the desired destinations.  However, transport planning and urban planning work together, and they entirely depend on con one another to an extent one cannot work without the other.  The government and other transportation agencies need to put into consideration the two variables before creating and formulating projects. Creation and development of good transportation planning, as well as urban planning, ensures there is economic development in individual countries. In addition, all important stakeholders should be involved before and during the

planning process. Thus, transportation planning is very important to a nation or a state. This paper attempts to examine the key issues in transportation planning in the United States of America.

Historical background of transportation planning………………………………………………………

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Global Supply Chain Management Essay-Research the impact of global shipping and receiving at ports around the world since September 11, 2001

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Global Supply Chain Management

Research the impact of global shipping and receiving at ports around the world since September 11, 2001. What policy has been added to this field? What laws have been changed? Describe best practices in global shipping and receiving at ports in your own words, supported by your research online

global shipping impact research paper

global shipping impact research paper

Global supply Chain Management

Name

Institutional Affiliation

The impact of global shipping and receiving at ports have undergone radical changes since September 11, 2001. New approaches, technologies, and mandates were adopted in an effort to improve the global supply chain security. Prior to September 11, 2001, security was among the least concern when moving goods from one place to another. The major priorities rested on delivering goods at the right place and time. Prior to September 11, custom authorities were mandated with the legal authority to clear imported goods. Currently, exporters are required to furnish custom officers with relevant documentation to proof origin of goods. The events of September 11 precipitated the World Customs Organization (WCO) to ratify custom procedures outlined during the Kyoto Convention (Peterson & Treat, 2008). New protocols dubbed the Framework of Standards to Secure and Facilitate Trade (SAFE) were also introduced.

The customs-to-customs network was introduced under the WCO Framework to facilitate screening of high-risk cargo using automated techniques. The customs-to-business partnership was also introduced under the WCO Framework to pre-certify those involved in shipping via a unique shipping program. The network and partnership are fundamental in four major areas: application of risk management techniques, harmonization of the import/export procedures, easy inspections for outbound cargo, and new programs that improved customs processing (Peterson & Treat, 2008).

The best practices in global shipping and receiving at ports involves enhanced security measures to counter the ever growing threat of terrorism. In order to achieve this, global shipping and receiving at ports must increasingly rely on electronic-based systems. Electronic-based systems have greater potential for improving security. Additionally, there should be strict adherence to global shipping and receiving laws and regulations in order to improve security and service delivery.

Reference

Peterson, J., & Treat, A. (2008). The post-9/11 global framework for cargo security. Journal of             International Commerce and Economics.

Research Paper-Control management of public expenditure

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Research Paper

The major written assignment for the course is a Research Paper.  This paper should demonstrate understanding of the reading as well as the implications of new knowledge.  The 20-page paper should integrate readings and class discussions into work and life experiences.  It may include explanation and examples from previous experiences as well as implications for future applications.

The purpose of the Research Paper is for you to culminate the learning achieved in the course by describing your understanding and application of knowledge in the field of accounting.  The Research Paper will contribute 25% to the course grade.

Focus of the Research Paper
Complete and submit your choice of one of the listed assignments.  Select one of the following choices:

  • Choice one – Your role is as a public official elected at the local city level, 50,000 to 250,000 population.  After reviewing the course concepts you will identify several issues that directly connect to the written assignment.  In addition to reading the assigned text materials to develop knowledge about the concepts, a thorough master’s level education requires the development of effective research skills.  In this assignment you will work to develop a rich resource of academic sources to support your paper.

Prepare a 20-page double spaced paper (excluding the title and reference pages) on the following topic:

You have a $10 million dollar budget allocated to you by the city manager and can get up to 100% matching federal funds if you meet the federal standards.  You have been asked by the mayor to determine how to allocate the budget to best support the needs of the city.  These  include but are not be limited to supporting capital requirements, operational requirements, and subsidizing non-profit organizations or used as economic incentives to bring new private concerns into the city.

Prepare a report for the mayor and city council on your proposed expenditure plan assessing the key course objectives including fund accounting and financial controls, control and management of public expenditures, government financial reporting requirements, analyzing financial statements and budgets to make appropriate administrative decisions, and applying budgets as disciplinary process.


 

  • Choice two – your role is as a consultant with ten years experience in the public financial management industry.  After reviewing the course concepts you will identify several issues that directly connect to the written assignment.  In addition to reading the assigned text materials to develop knowledge about the concepts, a thorough master’s level education requires the development of effective research skills.  In this assignment you will work to develop a rich resource of academic sources to support your paper.

Prepare a 20-page double-spaced paper (excluding the title and reference pages) on the following topic:

You are in the role of a consultant with ten years experience in the public financial management industry.  A group of 20 civic leaders are considering forming a new task force and have asked you to prepare a proposal on whether they should build a facility in an area within 30 miles of the downtown center of your 500,000 population city for $100 million dollars.

Prepare a report for the mayor and city council on your proposed expenditure plan assessing the key course objectives including fund accounting and financial controls, control and management of public expenditures, government financial reporting requirements, analyzing financial statements and budgets to make appropriate administrative decisions, and applying budgets as disciplinary process.

  • Choice three – your role is as the chief operating officer of a large non-profit hospital or agency with ten years experience in the public financial management industry.  After reviewing the course concepts you will identify several issues that directly connect to the written assignment.  In addition to reading the assigned text materials to develop knowledge about the concepts, a thorough master’s level education requires the development of effective research skills.  In this assignment you will work to develop a rich resource of academic sources to support your paper.

Prepare a 20-page double-spaced paper (excluding the title and reference pages) on the following topic.

You are in the role of a chief operating officer.  A board of directors has requested that you prepare a summary of the issues involved in a $50 million expansion.  Because of local political and uncertain national financial policy of the to-be-elected national officials they may have to scale the expansion back to $25 million.

Prepare a report for the mayor and city council on your proposed expenditure plan assessing the key course objectives including fund accounting and financial controls, control and management of public expenditures, government financial reporting requirements, analyzing financial statements and budgets to make appropriate administrative decisions, and applying budgets as disciplinary process.


 

  • Choice four – your role is as the chief operating officer of a large government agency with ten years experience in the public financial management industry.  After reviewing the course concepts you will identify several issues that directly connect to the written assignment.  In addition to reading the assigned text materials to develop knowledge about the concepts, a through master’s level education requires the development of effective research skills.  In this assignment you will work to develop a rich resource of academic sources to support your paper.

Prepare a 20-page double-spaced paper (excluding the title and reference pages) on the following topic.

You are in the role of a chief operating officer of a large government agency.  Your supervisors have requested that you prepare a summary of the issues involved in a potential reduction in U. S. Federal budget that will affect your agency by 40%.

Prepare a report for the mayor and city council on your proposed expenditure plan assessing the key course objectives including fund accounting and financial controls, control and management of public expenditures, government financial reporting requirements, analyzing financial statements and budgets to make appropriate administrative decisions, and applying budgets as disciplinary process.

  • Choice five – your role is as the chief administrative officer of a large non-profit health relief organization.  After reviewing the course concepts you will identify several issues that directly connect to the written assignment.  In addition to reading the assigned text materials to develop knowledge about the concepts, a thorough master’s level education requires the development of effective research skills.  In this assignment you will work to develop a rich resource of academic sources to support your paper.

Prepare a 20-page double-spaced paper (excluding the title and reference pages) on the following topic.

You are in the role of a chief administrative officer for a large non-profit health relief organization.  A board of directors has requested that you prepare a summary of the issues about how to solve the health needs of an African country.  Your organization has limited funding and will need to obtain subsidized medicine from major pharmaceutical companies.  They also have the opportunity to get non-generic, non USDA approved, alternative stem cell derived medication from foreign sources.

Prepare a report for the mayor and city council on your proposed expenditure plan assessing the key course objectives including fund accounting and financial controls, control and management of public expenditures, government financial reporting requirements, analyzing financial statements and budgets to make appropriate administrative decisions, and applying budgets as disciplinary process.

Finkler, S. A., Purtell, R. M., Calabrese, T. D., & Smith, D. L. (2013). Financial management for public, health, and not-for-profit organizations (4th ed.).

Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Sample Paper

Public Financial Management

Name

Instructor

Course name and number

Date

Public officials play a critical role in budget allocations. The main aim of a public official is to allocate available funds in a manner such that the general public receives the greatest benefits from the application of the funds. The public sector must ensure that scarce resources are allocated in a manner that optimizes their usefulness. It is imperative for public officials to take into consideration the preferences of the local citizens while making budget allocation decisions. In order for growth to be achieved at the local city levels, fiscal resources must be managed in a prudent manner so as to support market-led growth. Budget allocation plans should satisfy three key elements: responsiveness, responsibility, and accountability. Responsiveness of budgets relates to the level in which the allocation of budgets matches the publics’ expectations. Responsibility is achieved when budget allocation is conducted in an efficient and equitable manner, with minimal risks being involved. Accountability relates to the level in which public officials can be made to account for every resource spent for public use.

Budget allocation calls for greater scrutiny in the application of public funds to minimize incidences of fraud and improve accountability in the public sector (Quah, 2016). Independent evaluations are often conducted across many states to ensure that public funds are used objectively and in a manner that maximizes public benefit. Developing countries are often faced with accountability issues in allocation of public funds. Due to the endemic corruption in the developing countries, there is need for public sector reforms that can help ensure public funds are used for the benefit of the greater public. In the U.S., there is greater accountability in allocation of public funds due to a number of reforms that were implemented in the public sector. This paper provides a detailed report of the best way in which $10 million dollar budget can be allocated to best support the needs of a city with a population of about 250,000 residents.

The proposed expenditure plan for the local city level place more emphasis on supporting the core services required by the citizens. The core services in the city include: enhancing the public safety, maintenance of the general physical infrastructure, infrastructure, improvement of transport and communication facilities, and lastly enhancing investment in the region. This proposed expenditure plan is based on the policy of fiscal prudence which advocates for careful utilization of public funds. Fiscal prudence is of great importance since it will ensure that the available resources will adequately be utilized to cater for the main mission as well as to support other critical financial undertakings. In the management of public funds, it is necessarily to exercise caution especially in relation to public debt. Credit limit establishes the maximum amount of debt financing that the city can take. The proposed expenditure plan is $10 million dollars, with the possibility of an additional 100% matching federal funds.

The sample budget allocation covers capital requirements of the city, operational requirements, and subsidization of non-profit organizations.  The operating budget will comprise about 60% of the entire budget allocations, while capital requirements and economic incentives will take about 40% of the entire budget. The following is a simple budget overview showing the operating budget and the capital improvements budget to be applied in the city. This budget preparation assumes that the public officials will satisfy all the federal requirements and thus access 100% additional federal funds.

Table 1.1 Total Budget Program Allocations for the City

Total Budget Program
Operating Budget Requirements $12,000,000
Capital Improvements budget $8,000,000
Total Budget Allocations $20,000,000

 

This budget is prepared in accordance to the city’s long-term strategic plan of ensuring that it achieves financial sustainability and most importantly growth.

The operational requirements are divided into a number of subsections. The following table shows the structured operating budget allocations for the city.

Table 1.2 Operational requirements budget summary.

Operational requirements budget summary
General or common fund $5,066,493
Revenue Funds

Transport and Communication Sector

Performing arts

Transit

Housing sector

Donation funds

 

$273,833

$245,038

$1,510,324

$430,296

$611,729

Debt Servicing $784543
Internal Service budget $54,000
Enterprise funds

Solid waste management

Water services

Sports development

Parks and other facilities

 

$492,449

$2,462,351

$75,793

$699240

Total Budget Allocation $12,000000

 

The general fund comprise of the mayor’s appropriations for the various positions in the city. These appropriations are used to cater for salaries and wages of various staff working at the local city level. Some of these positions include court interpreters, clerks, program analysts, staffing for capital improvements, library staffing, code inspectors, fire inspectors, and other positions directly under the local city authority. There are a number of departments attached to the general fund which include City Clerk, City Attorney, City Manager, Community Development, Internal Services, Community Services, and City Court department. The General Fund will create additional employment opportunities. It is estimated that about 30 permanent positions will be created and about 20 temporary positions. This will also stimulate the creation of indirect employment opportunities.

Capital requirements budget summary

The following table shows the capital requirements budget summary that will be used in the proposed expenditure plan.

Table 1.3 Capital requirements budget summary

Capital Requirements Budget Summary
Enterprise program funds

Water

Sports

Sewerage

 

$1,823,810

$115,445

$550,777

Special purpose programs

Transit

 

$1,534,309

General purpose programs

Drainage development

Improvement of parks

Fire medical rescue

General governmental

 

$46,275

$2,454,337

$140,812

$701237

Transportation department

Street lighting installation

Others

 

$128,545

$504,453

Total $8000,000

 

The capital requirements budget summary addresses the city’s critical infrastructure needs. Funding for the capital budget is derived from a number of sources which include: general obligation bonds, supported bonds, grants and donations, and special revenues. As earlier mentioned, it is important to take into consideration the debt limits especially when financing through issuance of government bonds. This is because issuance of bonds has a significant impact on interest rates and the general performance of the economy. The city’s debt limit levels can safely be determined by using the limited property value. This involves the use of an established formula to determine the value of a particular property and consequently the applicable tax rates.

The Capital Budget primarily comprises of the city’s major projects that are in progress and meant for enhancing public safety, health, and maintenance of key assets. The budget will thus cater for a variety of projects such as infrastructural developments, improving the emergency services department by acquiring modern equipment, improvement of communication facilities, development of pars, road development, and among other projects. The city’s annual budget can be appropriated depending on the various categories of major expenses. The following chart shows the sample budget allocation plan based on expenditure type.
Project Summary

 

Fig. 1.1 Budget Appropriations based on Expenditure type

From the above chart, it is possible to see how the budget will be allocated to cover various critical expenses. The personnel costs comprise of the largest share of the total budget. Personnel costs are those associated with payment of wages, salaries and other benefits for all employees who are under the city’s payroll. Expenditure in capital projects is the second largest in the budget proposal, comprising of 28% of the total budget. The services sector/supplies will also cost a substantial portion of the entire budget, with 22% of the total budget going towards service provision. Another important consideration in the proposed expenditure plan is debt servicing. It is proposed that 14% of the total budget go to towards debt repayment. Debt servicing is important for the local city. It will help in securing more debts in future since the city will gain a positive reputation by reducing its debt levels. Countries as well as international financial institutions are more willing to lend to states that have good debt repayment history.

The City’s Overall Financial Assessment

Over the years, the city has employed sound financial management policies that have enhanced its strong financial standing. This has mainly been through the use of appropriate fiscal policies that encourage controlled spending and maximum savings. The financial sustainability of the expenditure plan decisions are assessed based on five-year financial forecasts. Financial forecasts should be updated yearly so as to reflect the current economic trends. A variety of sources, both internal and external, should be used in making the financial projections and models. Financial forecasts are important since they provide policy makers with a long-term view of how current decisions will affect its future potential to sustain itself financially. The financial forecasts are thus a key pillar in ensuring financial stability of the city in the long-run.

There are a number of indicators that can give policymakers clues concerning the financial strengths of the city. First, fund balances can be used to determine the city’s financial potentials. Fund balances related to the unassigned revenues in the general fund. The financial reserves held by the city can also be a good indicator of its financial strength. The financial reserves represent the share of revenues that the city has in stock and can use especially during emergency needs. Bond ratings are also used as indicators of financial strength. There are various international financial organizations that provide details on bond ratings such as Standard & Poor and Moody. High bond ratings can significantly reduce interest rates pegged on the city’s debt (Brigham, & Ehrhardt, 2008). The city’s debt management plan can also be used as an indicator of its financial strength. It is important to establish sound debt management practices so as to build a strong positive debt portfolio. Lastly, the development activities of the city can be used as a measure of its financial strength. High development activities are an indication good financial strength.

Control & management of public expenditure

It is of great significance for the city to establish control measures and sound management practices of public expenditure. Control & management of public expenditure ensures that the budget is consistent with current macroeconomic constraints (“International Monetary Fund” (n.d)). The budget preparation process is a critical process that involves careful execution of duties by various organizations involved in the budget preparation process. The principles of budget are used to checking the use of public expenditure in the public domain. There are a number of basic principles that guide the budget allocation process. The principles state that budget allocation should have the following core characteristics: it should be realistic, comprehensive, transparent, policy-oriented, and the entire budget process should show accountability especially in relation to budget execution.

Comprehensiveness of the budget process relates to whether gross estimates are applied and the completeness of government operations. Transparency relates to whether the budget process satisfies all outlined national and international standards. The realisms element assesses whether the budget is hedged on a robust macroeconomic framework. The element also looks at the applicability of the financing provisions made. There are three critical characteristics of an effective budget process. These include unity, annuality, and universality. Unity of the budget system means that revenues and expenditures are used together in establishing yearly budget estimates. Annuality of budgets relates to the period covered by the budget (“OECD,” 2004). Budget preparation is an annual process, including its execution. Universality of the budget process involves the manner in which resources are allocated. Available resources should be used for a common purpose rather than for specific purpose.

Responsibility in budget control and management

It is important to outline responsibility in the budget preparation process. At the local city level, the finance department should be charged with developing the budget. However, this may differ between countries or states.  In virtually all nations including the developed nations, authorities face a daunting task in ensuring accountability relating to the control and management of public expenditures. A weak accounting framework is one of the major reasons why most countries face challenges in maintaining accountability relating to the control and management of public expenditure. Accountability is critical to accumulating wealth and establishing successful economy (Oyeriende & Iyoha, 2010). In most countries, presence of laws or anti-corruption agencies may not deter individuals from embezzling public funds. However, it is only a robust accounting framework that can help ensure accountability in the control and management of public expenditure.

Ways in which the local city can improve on public expenditure management

The local city can improve on public expenditure management by conducting internal and external audits. Traditionally, authorities were content with internal audits. However, the internal checks can easily become subverted. Independent analysis of public expenditure is thus critical in ensuring accountability in the control and management of public expenditure. Most local governments have realized the need to control public expenditure and establish accountability in the sector. The second way in which local governments can improve on public expenditure management involves establishing a sound institutional framework. In public expenditure management, there should be clearly outlined principles that guide the budget process. The constitution should enumerate a list of laws that ought to be followed. In addition, there should be a balance between the executive and legislative powers. Power legislative bodies such as the parliament should have the legal jurisdiction to scrutinize the budget allocation process.

There should also be a clearly defined budget process. The budget preparation process follows a sequel of steps that gives policymakers time to evaluate each step and whether the milestones in each of the step has been accomplished before proceeding to the next step. The procedures used in the budget preparation process should be integrated to ensure a smooth budget process. During the budget preparation process, constraints should be clearly outlined and included in a report. The draft budget should be present to a legal body with the appropriate mandate to scrutinize it well. According to (Allen & Tommasi, 2001), the draft budget should include an outline of the fiscal policy objectives identified by the government, budget policies, macroeconomic framework, and an analysis of the key fiscal risks that may impact its implementation.

It is important to take into consideration the budget execution and monitoring process as a way to improving the control and management of public expenditure. A legally established body with higher authority such as parliament of finance ministry should be charged with monitoring the budget to ensure that it does not go beyond normal limits. There should be sound systems for checking personnel expenditures as well as the budget allocations. Comparisons should be made between actual spending and budget forecasts to ensure that they are in line. Public expenditure management should also involve financial control strategies. There are a number of procedures that are critical in ensuring sound internal control. These include: financial reporting standards, clear audit trail, well-defined procurement procedures, and a modern accounting system. Having an effective procurement process is a major step towards ensuring accountability in the budget process. Procurement practices can be improved through implementing a sound legislative framework, developing efficient complaints procedures, and through establishing an organization responsible for streamlining the procurement process in a country.

Government Financial Reporting Requirements

Government financial reporting can be defined as the process whereby financial information relating to performance is recorded in a specified manner for accountability purposes. Local authorities which follow the laid down financial reporting requirements are more accountable in their actions. It is also easier for policymakers to utilize the financial reports for the purpose of planning and policy formulation. The government requires multiple reports in relation to the budget process. The major purpose of these reports is to enhance accountability in relation to the way local governments make use of public funds. The Budget and Accounting Procedures Act formulated in 1990 was the first attempt by the Federal Government to enhance accountability through provision of budget reports and other information. The act required various executive agencies to issue budget reports to the Treasury Secretary.

Federal financial reporting objectives

The Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board (FASAB) outlines four key objectives in relation to federal financial reporting. The four include: stewardship, budgetary integrity, systems & control, and operating performance (Hatch, 2013). All financial reports prepared should satisfy the four aforementioned objectives. In satisfying budgetary integrity requirements, the financial report should include detailed information concerning the manner in which budgetary resources were acquired and how they were used. In other words, there should be clearly defined revenue sources along with amounts obtained and expenses incurred. The stewardship objective involves giving a report about the financial position of the government. In this case, it involves giving a report about the local government’s financial position. The stewardship objective will require the local government to declare the kind of economic resources it has the claims against them. This is simply the financial health of the local entity, along with future prospective. The stewardship objective thus provides policymakers with a future outlook with regard to sustainability of resources (Hatch, 2013).

The other objective is operating performance which provides details about program accomplishments. A federal financial report should provide details about accomplishments made, activity or program costs, and general information about sustainability of funds (Hatch, 2013). For example, a statement of net cost can be used to indicate the actual costs of operations in the budget process. Systems and control is another important federal financial reporting objective. This objective makes a recommendation that the financial reports should enable users to determine if all the necessary financial reporting standards and controls were observed. As per this objective, users should also be able to know whether other federal financial reporting standards were followed to the latter. Systems and control reports objective can be achieved by giving details on the internal controls employed in the budget process.

Financial reporting standards and requirements are currently regulated by congress through three statutes namely: Accountability of Tax Dollars Act of 2002, Government Management Reform Act (GMRA) of 2002, and Chief Financial Officers Act (CFO Act) of 1990 (Hatch, 2013). The CFO Act of 1990 is extremely important in proving guidelines for government financial reporting standards and procedures. The act requires relevant authorities to submit audited financial statement, provides a legal framework for leadership structures, devises long-term planning, and improves accountability reporting protocols. The GMRA act aims at introducing reforms in the running of the Federal government by evaluation of the current financial management practices and human resource planning. ATDA act of 2002 was meant to strengthen the CFO Act such that it could cater to multiple branch agencies. The Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB) is legally mandated to outline principles governing accounting and financial reporting systems.

Local city budget policies

A number of policies will be observed in budget allocation by the local level city authorities. These policies reflect the goals and objectives that are meant to be achieved in the application of the budget. Strong policies provide a framework for comparison between current budgetary performance and the proposed budget.

  • In the operating budget, current revenue will be used to support current expenditure. In a situation where the current operating expenditures exceed the current revenue, the general fund balance can be used to bridge the gap, provided that all the necessary policies are observed.
  • Projections for revenue and expenditure are to be conducted biannually over a period of five years.
  • Financial systems will be used to measure expenditures and to evaluate the program performance.
  • Current operations will not be financed using the current portion of long-term debt.
  • Capital projects that are bonds supported will not go beyond the useful life of the bonds that support them.
  • The city must keep maintaining its physical assets on a regular basis to avoid high cost in future.
  • The city will channel 25 percent of the current revenue towards retained earnings.
  • The city’s accounting and financial reporting will be conducted in accordance to GASB policy framework.

Analyzing financial statements & budgets to make appropriate administrative decisions

As a policymaker, it is imperative to conduct researches on various economic aspects in order to make appropriate decisions concerning the budget allocations or expenditure plan. It is important to analyze financial statements and budgets in order to reach conclusive decisions. The analysis may take various forms such as fiscal analysis, policy evaluation, or a combination of fiscal & policy analysis. A fiscal analysis concentrates on establishing fiscal issues such as federal legislation, regulations, initiatives, and other reports. It is also important to perform a policy analysis in order to make appropriate administrative decisions. A policy analysis enables individuals to make informed decisions in regard to government regulations and programs. Policy analysis is important since it helps decision makers to analyze the impacts of a particular policy to the public or organizations. Lastly, policymakers can perform a combination of policy and fiscal analysis in order to make appropriate administration decisions.

There are specific steps that policymakers should use in analyzing financial statements and budgets. Six basic steps can be used helping policymakers come up with appropriate administrative decisions. The first step is to clearly define the problem or need. In this step, policymakers should thoroughly assess the magnitude of the problem by conducting a quantitative analysis of the issue. It is also important to determine the extent of the problem or the population affected by the problem. The second step involves gathering information relating to the specific problem. In situations where policymakers are unable to obtain particular information, they may make assumptions based on historical or comparative data. It is important to test data in order to verify its accuracy. The third step involves analyzing the various alternatives available. There might be various options available to a policymaker with regard to particular problems or issues at hand. For instance, the local government may have various options in case of a deficit budget such as raising taxes, borrowing funds, relying on donations, creating incentives, and among other options.

The next step in analyzing financial statements and budgets involves establishing the criteria for determining the best alternatives. Various criteria may be used such as feasibility, efficiency, uncertainty & risks involved, effectiveness, consistency to expectations, and the outlined priorities. Once a criteria has been established, the policymaker should evaluate the available alternatives by weighing each of them against predetermined measures.  The final step involves making a recommendation about the best alternative. In this step, the policymaker combines all the gathered information and tries to draw conclusions based on the results. Policymakers should be creative in developing a viable solution to the problem. The policymaker should take into consideration the existing administration’s ideas and opinions and include at least one of them as a viable solution. The policymaker should provide more than one recommendations to enable the administration consider a set of different alternatives.

Applying budgets as a disciplinary process

The budget system should be time-efficient and provide maximum gains. Various local authority officials should develop estimates of the amount the appropriate amounts that can be adequately used to fund their programs or organizations. The local government should conduct annual analysis of expenditure needs instead of relying on previous year spending. This is mostly because priorities may change or new needs may emerge which impact the way budget allocations are made. The city authorities should be able to account for every money spent. The city should use advanced accounting systems that can help in eliminating overheads and inefficiencies in the entire budget allocation process. Many local governments lack mechanisms for keeping track of all costs that they incur. The lack of a sound budgeting and accounting system may lower the quality of the budget process and lead to high inefficiencies in the entire process. Budget committees are vital in the budget implementation process. The caliber of employees working in these committees greatly determine its effectiveness.

There are four ways in which budget committees can enhance the effectiveness of the budget process. First, there is need for biennial budgeting. This involves allowing the budget cycle to run for a period of two years, in contrast to the yearly budget cycles that are common in most parts of the world. Extending the period may be of benefit since it gives more room to budget committees to manage resources. In the annual budget cycles, the budget committees spend a lot of time in planning and implementation of the annual budget cycle. The second step in to adopt standard capital budgeting and cost accounting techniques. These techniques are important because they give more clarity on overheads, expenses and costs. Majority of local city authorities lack the relevant tools that can enable them keep track of indirect overhead costs. Activity-based techniques can be useful in assessing the entire cost of various programs.

The next method is to encourage those in charge of fund administration to ensure efficiency by use of rewards. Altering the incentive structures in place can help fund administrators focus more on achieving efficiencies in fund administration. The last method is to restructure the budget process and make it simple. The budget process has remained the same for over four decades. The current budget process is dogged by complexities in the system, particularly in the manner in which it is administered. There are numerous committees with overlapping duties and responsibilities which creates confusion. Restructuring the budget process can therefore be of great benefit and save on costs.

The budget process

The budget process is a critical process in ensuring that budget allocation takes place effectively. Budget preparation is importance since it gives department room for reassessing their goals or objectives and the strategies for achieving them. There are a number of phases employed in the budget preparation process.

  • Policy phase – This is the first phase of the budget preparation process. This phase is guided by the goals and objectives of the council. These act as the directives that establish the tone to be followed. Various departments discuss their needs and forward these to the relevant individuals (In Cruz-Cunha et al., 2014).
  • Financial capacity stage – This is the second phase in the process. The financial capacity phase entails forecasting as part of the decision making process. In this phase, short-term and long-term projections are made. Financial projections are then prepared covering each major fund to be applied. These forecasts cover a period of five years. Those involved in the budget preparation process may then examine a number of different scenarios that may have an impact on each of the funds.
  • Outreach phase – This involves a series of meetings that are conducted by the policymakers to discuss the overall goals and objectives in relation to the city. A number of items may be discussed during the meetings such as timelines, available resources for allocation, budget guidelines, and fiscal constraints.
  • Assessment of needs – this is the next stage in the budget implementation process. In this stage, different departments assess their programs, needs and the current micro and macroeconomic conditions. In this phase, the departments carefully scrutinize their ongoing programs in order to find areas of improvement or recommend for elimination.
  • Development phase – this phase involves the review of budget requests from various departments, financial capacity of the city, manager priorities, and departmental needs evaluation. A preliminary budget is then developed.
  • Implementation phase – this is the final phase of the budget process. The proposed budget is submitted to the relevant authority which is often the council (In Cruz-Cunha et al., 2014).

 

Comprehensive Budget Plan for the operational budget

Major Assumptions

The general fund is expected to reduce following a $201,300 deficit occasioned by discontinuation of a temporary sales tax. The deficit will reduce with time since the economy is expected to grow steadily over the five year period. The transit fund is expected to remain relatively stable in the first few years. From 2018, a deficit may be experienced due to high expenditures to be incurred in the improvement of parking in the city. The sports development fund may experience a $ 25,278 deficit in the middle of the five year forecast. This deficit will be occasioned by a cut in debt service costs. The water/sewerage fund is expected to remain relatively the same over the five year period, experiencing small surpluses towards the end of the period. This is because of the low population growth in the city hence fewer new connections. The population growth in the city is 0.2% which indicates a low population increase. Population growth helps in revenue projections from various sources such as social services and recreation. Population also impacts shared revenue calculations (Burchell & Listokin, 2012).

City revenues are projected to increase over the coming years. The growth in revenues will largely be driven by an increase in state sales tax. High revenues will also be driven by growth in the tourism sector. The development sector is experiencing a resurgence in activities from the recent economic recession. Construction has increased remarkably and is expected to maintain growth over the coming period. According to Baker (2016), spending in hotel construction in the U.S. increased by 13 percent in 2015 , while that in construction of office blocks went up by 15 percent. A 3% growth in institutional development was also achieved. Growth in the commercial and residential sectors is expected to rise in the coming period. In the fringe benefits sector, health insurance costs are projected to rise in the next five year period. The high insurance costs will be driven by a greater maturity in the workforce and a high number of retiring employees. Inflation rate will remain stable due to a relatively stable economy.

Strategic priority of policymakers and the city council

Policymakers and the city council are working with an aim to fulfill five key strategic priorities. These priorities include: enhancing the safety and security of all citizens; improving the quality of life of all residents, creating strong community links and connections; ensuring long-term sustainable growth and development; and maintaining robust financial stability of the region in the long-run. The following chart shows the council’s strategic priorities in order of their relevance.

A large portion of the budget will be spent in enhancing the quality of life of the local citizens. This portion of budget will be used to improve core infrastructural amenities. This is part of the asset maintenance efforts by the city. This budget will cover things such as streets maintenance, water, parks, and other capital programs. The key objective is to improve all the neighborhoods and ensure that council services are close and easily available to all the residents. The second strategic priority is to implement sustainable growth in the region. There are a number of ways the city can implement sustainable growth. First, there is need to reduce utility bills so that production costs also fall. Reduction in utility bills can attract investment into the region. Improving energy efficiency is another way in which sustainable growth can be achieved. This will be helpful in reducing electricity bills for the residents as well as the investors. The city plans to achieve a 20% reduction in the total amount of energy consumed by total households annually. The city will also shift to green sources of energy as alternative energy sources.

The role of nonprofit organizations

Nonprofit organizations have a critical role to play in shaping the economy of the region. These organizations are critical in provision of public services that the local authority may be unable to provide to its citizens (Horne, Johnson, & Van Slyke, 2005). In addition, nonprofit organizations can support the local government in provision of public services through partnerships. The role played by nonprofit organizations in city environments has increased tremendously in the last decade. Nonprofit organizations have become increasingly important since they are able to provide core services in a non-coercive way unlike governments (Salamon, 2003). They are also non-distributive in terms of profit which makes them more attractive in delivery of public services. Nonprofit organizations are independent of government and control their own activities. The board of directors which is responsible for the management of these entities does not benefit from their activities which makes them ideal for delivery of sensitive public services. Subsidizing nonprofit organizations would thus be beneficial to the general public since there would be corresponding improvement in provision of services.

In conclusion, budgets are of great importance in the control and management of public expenditure. Budgets serve as the key to decision making at both the local and national levels. The budget should reflect the needs of the citizens. In order for the budget to reflect the needs of the citizens, policymakers must conduct in-depth analysis of the current budget, programs to be implemented, federal policies, current needs of the locals, and others. This helps ensure that the budget reflects the needs of the majority. In planning budgets, policymakers must ensure that they take into consideration budget constraints. All budgets are limited by inadequacy of resources and hence the city must carefully plan on how to allocate the limited resources for maximum social benefit.

 

References

Allen, R., & Tommasi, D. (2001, 5 28). Managing Public Expenditure. Retrieved from OECD: http://www1.worldbank.org/publicsector/pe/oecdpemhandbook.pdf

Baker, K. (2016). Nonresidential Construction in full recovery mode. Retrieved from The American Institute of Architects: http://www.aia.org/practicing/AIAB106916

Brigham, E. F., & Ehrhardt, M. C. (2008). Financial management: Theory & practice. Mason,     Ohio: Thomson Business and Economics.

Hatch, G. (2013, October 22). Federal Financial Reporting: An Overview. Retrieved from Congressional Research Service: https://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R42975.pdf

Horne, C. S., Johnson, J. L and Van Slyke, D. M. 2005. “Do Charitable Donors Know Enough-   and Care Enough-About Government Subsidies to Affect Private Giving to Nonprofit          Organizations?” Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly,Vol. 34(1): 136-149.

International Monetary Fund. (n.d). Budget Preparation. Retrieved from:             https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/expend/guide3.htm

OECD. (2004). The legal framework for budget systems: an international comparison. OECD      Journal on Budgeting, 4(3): 2-34.

Oyerinde, D., Iyoha, N. (2010). Accounting Infrastructure in the Management of Public Expenditure in Developing Countrires: A focus on Nigeria. Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 21(3): 361-373.

Salamon, L. M. 2003. The Resilient Sector: The State of Nonprofit America. New York:   Brookings Institution.

In Cruz-Cunha, M. M., In Moreira, F., & In Varajao, J. (2014). Handbook of research on enterprise 2.0: Technological, social, and organizational dimensions.

Quah, J. S. (2016). The role of the public bureaucracy in policy implementation in five ASEAN countries. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Burchell, R., & Listokin, D. (2012). The fiscal impact Handbook: Estimating local costs and revenues of land development. New Jersy, NJ: Transactional Publishers.

Capital Budgeting (Public Administration)

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Capital Budgeting (Public Administration)

Capital Budgeting (Public Administration) Sample paper

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Capital budgeting refers to the decision making process in a firm relating to investment in long-lived assets such as new machinery, new plant, replacement of machinery, research development programs and others. Capital budgeting attempts to seek whether investing in the long-term projects will yield any benefits in the long-run. Long-term projects are those that typically take a period of more than one year. Capital budgeting helps in making crucial decisions about whether or not to invest. The decision to invest is weighed against the firm’s retained earnings, equity available, and current liability standings. Capital budgeting is a continuous process since firms occasionally seek for new investment opportunities in the environment. This paper will analyze capital budgeting with regard to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in the United States.

Explain how the debt capacity of the U.S. governmental entity is determined

The debt capacity of firms and government entities is critical to creditors. If a firm exceeds its debt capacity, it may suffer financial distress, which may lead to bankruptcy. Lenders may thus be on the losing end in such a scenario. The focus on debt capacity is not the maximum debt that a firm can take, and neither its capital structure. Rather, it aims at establishing the amount of debt a firm can take and be able to repay without experiencing financial distress. In analyzing debt capacity, the cash flow of the firm is analyzed keenly especially with regard to expected cash sources. It is also important to analyze the current needs of the firm within the particular economic environment.

The debt capacity of HUD can be determined by using debt ratios (Wahlen, Bradshaw, & Baginski, 2014). Analysis of debt ratio is used to measure the debt capacity of the entity.  It gives the total long-term debt to total assets or shareholders’ equity as fraction of liabilities in the capital structure of HUD. A high debt ratio indicates that the entity is at a higher risk of failing to repay debt. This also indicates low unused debt capacity in the entity. It is important to take into consideration off-balance-sheet obligations that may have a high impact on the entity’s ability to pay debt, for instance, operating lease commitments which may take a huge share of the entity’s revenues. Net debt is commonly used to assess an entity’s debt capacity. This is the part of debt that is repaid using the entity’s revenues. Common debts of this type includes capital lease debt, limited obligation debt, and general obligation bonds.

The debt capacity of HUD is also determined by analyzing components of cash flows (Wahlen, Bradshaw, & Baginski, 2014). The analysis of cash flows should cover a long duration so that it can reveal the movement of cash even during adverse periods such as recession. An examination of an entity’s cash flows over a period of two or three years can reveal potential cash flow problems in the firm. Cash flows conducted on HUD can be categorized into financial flows, operating cash flows and non-operating cash flows. Operating cash flows gives a clear picture of the sales volume and prices with relation to the future. Financial cash flows analyze the entity’s debt repayment, interest payments, lease rentals and dividend commitments. Non-operating cash flows generally cover working capital changes and capital expenditures.  Cash flow analysis is used to give an accurate overview of HUD’s debt capacity.

Debt capacity is also determined by assessing the value of collateral held by the entity. If for a particular reason the entity lacks adequate cash flows to repay its debt, the lender can assess the value of assets that can secure the loan. For instance, the value of property, inventories, receivables, and plant and equipment can be assessed and used as collateral for debt. Lastly, debt capacity is determined by analyzing contingencies surrounding the entity. If for instance the HUD is facing a major lawsuit with a high likelihood of losing, it might then be labeled as high risk in terms of credit.

Evaluate the effect of refunding or reorganizing existing debt obligations

Debt reorganization occurs when both the debtor and the creditor agree on new bilateral arrangements concerning the terms of debt repayment (Shepherd & Kitili, 2006). Reorganization often tends to favor the debtor. Debt reorganization may take different forms such as debt restructuring, debt conversions, rescheduling, and debt forgiveness. Reorganizing existing debt obligations often gives relief to the debtor since it often involves changing the original terms and conditions that bound the debtor and the creditor. The need for debt reorganization may arise out of the debtor’s liquidity issues. For instance, the debtor may lack adequate cash flows to make periodic debt payments as stipulated under the terms and conditions of the debt. The debtor may also be having sustainability issues where it is realized that he will be unable to meet the debt obligations in future due to one reason or another. A restructuring of the industry may also make it difficult for debt servicing.

As earlier mentioned, debt reorganization may take various forms. In debt forgiveness, a new arrangement is made between the creditor and the debtor whereby the latter is only required to pay a fraction of the entire debt or nothing at all in a situation of total debt cancellation. This may be inclusive of the entire amount of principal owed or part of it, in addition to any accrued interest. In debt forgiveness, a new debt instrument is made indicating the change in terms and conditions. The difference in value between the old debt instrument and the new one is taken as a capital transfer. When the government is the creditor, debt forgiveness results to a reduction in its financial wealth equivalent to the debt forgiveness (Shepherd & Kitili, 2006).

Debt reorganization may also take the form of restructuring. This involves altering one or more of the initial terms and conditions of the debt. This has a number of effects depending on the nature of the new terms. First, it may extend the debt repayment period beyond the original stipulated time. Second, restructuring may alter the original interest, which is often a reduction of the rate. Third, payment of arrears may be rescheduled to a later period. Lastly, restructuring may extend principle repayment grace period. Debt conversion is also common in debt reorganization. In this, the creditor agrees to an equity allocation from the debtor. Debt reorganization may lead to debt prepayments whereby the debtor pays the debt earlier before its maturity date. Debt reorganization can also lead to debt assumption whereby a new debtor agrees to take over the repayment of the debt and accumulated interest (Shepherd & Kitili, 2006).

Analyze various funding alternatives that can be used to support debt obligations

There are number of alternative funding options that HUD can use to support its debt obligation. HUD can acquire funds from local and state governments to support its debt obligations. State and local governments may provide direct funding to HUD to support its debt obligations. These funds can be in form of grants or debt financing with favorable terms and conditions. Many states offer low-interest loans and grants to support various agencies. Funds derived from local and state governments are referred to as local funds. HUD can also acquire alternative funding from the private sector in order to support its debt obligations. Private foundations have programs that allocate funds to community development, education, arts, and other projects. HUD can solicit grants from various national corporations and foundations. In addition, HUD can obtain funds in form of loans from various corporations and foundations at low or zero-interest rates to finance its various projects (“HUD”, 2012).

Real estate organizations can also provide funding alternatives to HUD for supporting its debt obligations. By creating suitable partnerships with other real estate organizations such as land companies, mortgage industry companies, and real investment trusts, HUD can be able to obtain alternative funding at low interest rates. Individual donations can also be a source of alternative funding. Donation may come from other agencies, private entities, local governments, and other sources. Lastly, as a last resort HUD can result to sale of assets and services in order to support its debt obligations. HUD can sell some of its equipment or assets to settle its debt obligations (“HUD”, 2012)

 

References

Lee, R. D., Johnson, R. W., Joyce, P. G. (2008). Public budgeting systems (8th ed.). Sudbury,

MA: Jones and Bartlett.

Shepherd, R. & Kitili, A. (2006). Debt Reorganization. Fourth meeting of the Advisory Expert     Group on National Accounts 30 January – 8 February 2006, Frankfurt. Retrieved from:             http://unstats.un.org/unsd/nationalaccount/AEG/papers/m4DebtReorganization.pdf

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). (2012). Orientation Guide for        New HCAs. Retrieved from:           http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=ohc_hud101070212.pdf

Wahlen, J. M., Bradshaw, M. T., & Baginski, S. P. (2014). Financial reporting, financial             statement analysis, and valuation. Boston: Cengage Learning.

 

Public Policy (Public Administration)

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The City & County of Honolulu’s FY 2017 Operational Budget has been uploaded as a Reference. If not, the direct link is provided in the Assignment.docx. The choice of the U.S. public policy is up to the writer.

Public Policy (Public Administration)

Public Policy (Public Administration) Sample paper

 

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Public policy refers to the various actions taken by the government to achieve various state objectives relating to the health concerns, education matters, morals, and the general wellness of the citizenry (Lee, Johnson, & Joyce, 2008). Public policy thus consists of courses of actions, funding priorities, regulatory measures and laws that help the government achieve its objectives. Public policy decisions reflect the needs and interests of various groups of people and individuals. They are made from the existing laws, legal precedents, and executive decisions and from policy recommendations from individuals or entities. Public policy decisions adopted by the federal government impacts the state as well as the local governments. This paper will analyze cost implication of the U.S. environmental policies to the local government in Honolulu.

The United States Environmental Policy has a number of implications to the local government of Honolulu. The environmental policy was introduced in order to control activities that have significant impacts on the environment across all member states (“ICAP,” 2012). In the face of climate change and global warming, there is need for concrete actions that can help mitigate these emerging challenges.  The major goal of the environmental policy is to safeguard the environment for future generations’ use. This involves protecting the general ecosystem and various habitats such as oceans, forests, lakes protection, bay protection and restoration, and protection of land, water and air from any forms of pollution. Common hazards covered by this policy include air pollution, oil spills, chemical pollution, climate change and other issues of concern. Environmental policy application requires the combined efforts of local, state and federal administrative bodies.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the body charged with developing and implementing programs at the state and local levels that help in adoption of renewable energy, improving energy efficiency, and developing climate change policies (“EPA,” 2015). The Local Climate and Energy Program is one of the programs coordinated by EAP that aids local governments achieve sustainability goals, implement clean energy strategies, and to adopt climate change policies. Local governments are key in helping achieve various environmental goals. First, local governments are instrumental in reducing emission of greenhouse gases through policy formulation. Second, local governments can help reduce air pollution especially from industries. Third, they can help lower energy costs and encourage reliance on clean sources on energy.  Lastly, local governments can help improve the security and reliability of the energy system. In order to accomplish these goals, there is need for careful resource planning especially at the local levels.

One of the most significant impacts of the United States Environmental Policy to the City and County of Honolulu involves water pollution in the Pacific Southwest. In 2010, a comprehensive agreement was reached between the City and County of Honolulu, EPA, the Justice Department, Hawaii Department of Health and among other environmental groups (“EPA,” 2010). The agreement requires Honolulu to upgrade its wastewater collection and treatment system in accordance to the Clean Water Act. This came after lawsuits were filed over ocean water pollution by wastewater from Honolulu’s treatment system. The agreement requires Honolulu to upgrade its wastewater treatment plant by 2024 to at least a secondary treatment level. The entire cost of upgrading the wastewater collection and treatment system is estimated to cost the city $3.5 billion dollars. The project is expected to be complete by 2038. This will prevent raw sewage spillages into the ocean which has had a negative impact to the marine ecosystem.

In accordance with the United States Environmental Policy, the City and County of Honolulu seeks to reduce greenhouse gas production by exploring alternative options especially in the transport sector. Greenhouse gases are largely produced by burning fossil fuels. The transportation sector consumes the largest share of fossil fuels, and thus the largest emitter of greenhouse gases. The City and County of Honolulu aims at increasing reliance on renewable and clean sources of energy that have a low carbon footprint. In 2008, Honolulu launched an ambitious program dubbed the Solar Roofs initiative Loan Program that provided developers with zero-interest and low interest loans which could be used to install solar water heating systems. This was a major step in embracing clean energy and helping reduce overreliance on fossil fuels as the major source of energy.

In order to effectively address climate change and pollution issues, the City and County of Honolulu has in the past conducted educational and awareness campaigns on the impacts of climate change (“EPA,” 2010). It is important to educate people of the impacts of climate change so as to prepare them in advance. Planning in advance for the impacts of climate change is of great significance to any community. The City and County of Honolulu also encourages the formation of community stewardship groups. These groups help in implementation of various climate change policies and initiatives. The City and County of Honolulu has also taken active steps to restore natural landscape features such as wetlands, beaches, forests, floodplains, coral reefs, and dunes. Restoration of such features comes at a high cost to the City and County of Honolulu. Other climate change mitigation policies are also costly to implement.

It has become imperative to integrate climate change adaptation guidelines to the city’s plans. These guidelines will assess the impact of climate change in various areas such as coastal areas, agricultural sector, health, education and water resources. Decision-makers in the City and County of Honolulu also find it necessary to concentrate on adaptation to possible sea-level rise on its shorelines and harbor (“ICAP,” 2012). Honolulu’s economy heavily depends on its shoreline, either for tourism or transportation. A sea-level rise may heavily impact on these activities. It is projected that a sea-level rise could make the coastline more susceptible to hurricanes, wave inundation and be at risk of tsunamis. It is projected that the sea levels may rise by about 3 feet during the century. Such a sea-level rise will require adaptation strategies such as relocating vulnerable structures, protection strategies such as shoreline hardening, and accommodation measures such as increasing the ground-floor elevation of structures.

The United States Environmental Policy has a number of effects to the City and County of Honolulu’s operational budget. The benefits of the policy to the City and County of Honolulu’s operational budget is receipt of grants and other emoluments from the federal and state government (“City and County of Honolulu,” 2016). The implementation of the environmental policy will greatly help in maintaining the tourism industry in the City and County of Honolulu. Honolulu greatly depends on the tourism industry as the major source of revenue. By maintaining a clean environment, the city will be able to attract more tourists to the region. Climate change poses great risks especially in Honolulu region. Honolulu must therefore take active steps in addressing climate change and environmental pollution issues. Dependence on alternative sources of energy such as solar will likely reduce the cost of energy and help mitigate climate change in the region.

In the 2017 financial year, the City and County of Honolulu has already set aside a total of $292 million to cater for environmental services including implementation of climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies (“City and County of Honolulu,” 2016). The budgetary allocations for environmental services are expected to increase in the coming financial years. In 2016, Honolulu appropriated $459,020 in sewer revenue. These are charges for wastewater discharge and management to residential facilities and non-residential dwellings. Honolulu plans to increase these charges in the 2017 financial year to generate a total revenue of $496,031. The cost increments upon residents comes amidst the need to improve wastewater collection and treatment system in Honolulu so as to reduce water pollution and destruction of marine ecosystem. Solid waste revenues are also projected to increase in the 2017 budget. As such, the implementation of the U.S. Environmental Policy will come at a high cost to the local government of Honolulu and its residents. Each year, the city must increase operational budget to cater towards implementation of the policy.

In conclusion, the implementation of United States Environmental Policy remains an imperative issue for the City and County of Honolulu. Climate change is a threat in major parts of the world. Honolulu greatly relies on the ocean for tourism activities and as a major transportation route through the harbor. The local government must address the impacts of climate change and ocean water pollution for these sectors to remain viable in the long-run.

 

References

Center for Island Climate Adaptation and Policy (ICAP). (2012). Climate Change Law and          Policy in Hawaii. University of Hawaii Sea Grant College Program. Retrieved from:             http://seagrant.noaa.gov/Portals/0/Documents/what_we_do/toolkit/sm_climatechangelaw            andpolicy_1.pdf

City and County of Honolulu. (2016). The Executive Program and Budget Fiscal Year 2017.        Retrieved from:   http://www.honolulu.gov/rep/site/bfs/bfs_docs/FINAL_Volume_1_Operating_Program_            nd_Budget_FY_2017.pdf.

EPA. (2010). Climate and Energy Resources for State, Local and Tribal Governments. Retrieved            from: https://www.epa.gov/statelocalclimate

EPA. (2015). Climate Change in the United States: Benefits of a Global Action. Retreived from:             https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-06/documents/cirareport.pdf

Lee, R. D., Johnson, R. W., Joyce, P. G. (2008). Public budgeting systems (8th ed.). Sudbury,       MA: Jones and Bartlett.

Governmental Budgeting Process

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5-page APA style paper, not including Title and Reference pages. The selection of the U.S. federal agency is up to the writer. Revenues and finance data must be current and properly sourced in the paper.

Governmental Budgeting Process

Government Budgeting Process at VA

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Governmental Budgeting Process refers to the decision-making process by which public resources are allocated to priority areas identified by the government. It refers to the mechanism by which a budget is created and approved. Budgeting is important since it enables the government to establish expenditure levels for various agency’s functions. Budgeting helps allocate scarce resources to various agencies and departments that help meet public demand and maximize the welfare of the citizens (Lee, Johnson, Joyce, 2008). The budget is supposed to reflect the values and meet the needs of majority of the citizens. Over the years, Governmental Budgeting Process has evolved tremendously. This has mainly been influenced by laws passed by the Congress to shape and smoothen the entire process. This paper will analyze the budgeting process with regard to United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs is a state-run benefits system that is meant to cater for veterans. VA administers a number of programs aimed at looking into the welfare of veterans and their families, including survivors. Specifically, the agency is charged with providing health care and other benefits to Veterans including their families. VA derives its revenues from the federal government through budget allocations. VA also utilizes discretionary resources under its control. In order to obtain funding from the federal government, VA prepares budget requests which it presents to the legislature. This is based on estimated agency needs and cost of various programs to be undertaken during the next financial period. Cost estimates prepared by VA officials are documented and taken through the four Public Budget Cycle phases for evaluation and approval purposes. In the 2017 budget request, OB has made requests of a total $182.3 billion. A part of this amount, $103.6 billion, represents mandatory funding while the other part, $78.7 billion represents discretionary resources. This is a 4.9 percent increase compared with the budget for the last financial year (“Office of Budget,” 2017).

VA has several revenue classifications based on how or where it is derived. The first classification is the exchange revenue that is derived from exchange of goods or services between VA and the public or a government entity for a consideration (“Department of Veteran Affairs,” 2011). Exchange revenue may include fees and commissions charged or earned various services. As such, VA may earn exchange revenue from providing goods or services to private entities, public entities, state and local governments, foreign governments, business, federal agencies, and other VA facilities. Primary exchange revenue at VA is earned through provision of medical services to VA members. Exchange revenue may also be earned from trust fund activity or from a revolving fund. The second form of revenue classification is non-exchange revenue. This revenue is obtained when VA demands revenue from the general public in form of penalties, duties, and fines. Donations are also included as part of non-exchange revenue. Donations may be in form of cash, securities, land, or buildings.

Fiduciary funds are those held by the government but in actuality belong to individuals or entities. VA has established a fiduciary program that serves veterans and their families. The fiduciary program specifically targets veterans who are incapacitated due to disease or injury and are unable to continue providing to their families. This also includes veteran members who are unable to manage their finances due to any of the reasons such as age, disease, or even injury. Proof of incapacitation must be provided for one to be eligible for the program. This involves providing medical documentation or a court ruling. A fiduciary is appointed after establishing that a veteran is incapable of managing his/her financial affairs. Fiduciary funds are a veteran’s personal savings and entitlements. They represent the share or fraction of savings that is rightfully entitled to a veteran member, but is in one way or another unable to manage the share of funds. This is thus the exchange revenue derived by VA (“Department of Veteran Affairs,” 2011).

Proprietary funds are used in governmental accounting. The Veterans Affairs Department uses proprietary accounts to show the true financial position and operations of the department with regard to liabilities, actual assets, revenues, expenditures and fund balances (“Department of Veteran Affairs,” 2011). Proprietary funds in VA are associated with the loan program. The proprietary fund associated with the loan program is audited to ensure accountability in the loan program. Proprietary liability accounts and asset accounts are used to indicate the receipt of funds in Treasury and in classification of various assets such as inventory, receivables and fixed assets. Governmental funds represent all other forms of funds. Governmental funds receives revenues from grants made by the federal government. For instance, the discretionary grants that are issued under a federal government agency.

Public policy decisions significantly affect the receipt of revenues at the Veterans Affairs Department. During the appropriation phase, various bodies maintain communication. These include Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Federal agencies, and the President. Economic outlook projections are given by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), Treasury, and the Council of Economic Advisers. All these agencies and persons affect the decisions on issuance of revenues and restrictions that might be placed. Statutory provisions establish the number of items that must be submitted together with the budget request. VA is require by OMB circular to prepare performance-based budgets in accordance to Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA). This act also requires VA to prepare performance reports and performance plans annually. OMB is in charge of apportioning funds to various agencies including VA and monitoring their use of the funds.

The Antideficiency Act (ADA) also places restrictions in the ways VA conducts itself. This act prohibits VA from spending more funds than appropriated under the budget. The act also requires VA to control its spending. In case of overspending, penalties are issued. Government Accountability Office (GAO) and Treasury also gives directions on how VA controls its budget. The two provides guidelines and specific procedures that are supposed to be followed.  VA is also supposed to issue a final report to Congress detailing how appropriated funds were put to use. GAO restricts VA on the amount of payments it can make for various operations. This ensures that funds are used in an accountable manner.

The economic performance is of great significance when making revenue projections. The first form of economic conditions that affect revenue projections is the unemployment rate in the country. The unemployment rate is determined by the business cycle prevailing in a country. When production of goods and services is high, more individuals are involved in production. This increases the revenue base available for taxation. The level of GDP also affects revenue projections in a country. GDP level is used as an indicator of economic performance. A high economic performance as indicated by GDP levels improves the bottom line of the budget. A slow or negative growth in GDP translates to less amount of taxable income available. Policymakers would thus lower their revenue projections.

The Interest rate is also a significant determiner of revenue projections. Revenue projections heavily rely on interest rates in the country. Changes in interest rates have various impacts both to firms, individuals and the government in terms of borrowing (Howlett, 2011). Generally, higher interest rates lead to low aggregate demand in the economy. This have several consequences on the economy such as low economic growth, unemployment levels increase, and negative balance of payments. The government pays higher interest rates on current loans reducing the amount of money available for various projects in the country. Such conditions negatively affects revenue projections.  Policymakers analyze interest rates which gives a measure of the economic conditions in the country.

The prevailing prices of some goods also determine the economic conditions in the U.S. For instance, it has been observed that lower gas prices in the U.S. markets triggers a higher consumer spending. On the other hand when prices are high, there is a lot of pessimism which leads to restrained spending. Restrained spending is harmful to the economy since the government is unable to obtain sufficient revenue in form of taxation to fund its operations. As such, high prices of some basic commodities like gas may lead to low revenue projections.

 

References

Department of Veteran Affairs. (2011). VA Financial Policies and Procedures. Retrieved from:             http://www.va.gov/finance/docs/VA-FinancialPolicyVolumeIVChapter01.pdf

Howlett, C. (2011). Budget and Economic Outlook: An Update. DIANE Publishing.

Lee, R. D., Johnson, R. W., Joyce, P. G. (2008). Public budgeting systems (8th ed.). Sudbury,       MA: Jones and Bartlett.

Office of Budget. (2017). FY 2017 Budget Submission. Retrieved from:             http://www.va.gov/budget/products.asp

Homelessness in the City & County of Honolulu Research paper

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The homeless issue is to be written for the City & County of Honolulu. I’ve included the draft budget of the local city government which will aid incorporating the financial aspect into the document. The requirements are specific and detailed. If additional financial/revenue information is needed, I can email or provide links to source documents. Many thanks.

  Homelessness Honolulu Research paper

Homelessness in the City & County of Honolulu

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Introduction

Homelessness has been a major challenge in the City & County of Honolulu and the entire United States in general. Throughout history, a considerable proportion of the population has lived in appalling conditions. Homelessness is not a problem that only emerged in the modern world; there exists written accounts depicting homelessness back in the middle ages. However, one would expect that with modernization and improvement in technology in the last century, the entire population would be able to afford basic necessities such as food and shelter. This has not been the situation as more than 1 million U.S, residents lack housing. The situation is not just confined to the U.S. but also reflected in other parts of the world. Homelessness is a critical issue that needs to be addressed especially in the developing countries where about half of the population live in appalling conditions. Homelessness contributes to the emergence of slums especially in less developed countries.

A multiplicity of factors are identified as the major cause of homelessness in the United States. Lack of affordable housing has been singled out as the most important factor in determining the level of homelessness in a particular area. This is closely related to a number of overarching themes such as job loss, financial difficulties, and job search problems that contribute to homelessness. The economic blips experienced from time to time determines the employment levels which has a ripple impact in the housing sector. Interpersonal incidents also contribute to a large share of homeless persons. An example of these incidents is domestic violence, disputes, and lack of support from parents. Drug and substance abuse also contributes to homelessness across a section of the population. Lastly, inadequate income assistance programs have also led to the development of conditions that lead to homelessness in the U.S. states.

Thesis

The City & County of Honolulu has sought to address the issue of homelessness that afflicts more than 2,964 of its residents. According to Botelho (2015), the entire State of Hawaii had an estimated 7,620 people living in squalid conditions without proper shelter. Although the figure may seem small compared to the number of homeless people in other states such as California (114,000 homeless people), Hawaii’s population is relatively small, with about 1.36 million people living in the Island. At 487 homeless per 100,000 citizens, the state of Hawaii has one of the highest homelessness rate per capita among the 50 U.S. states. A growing concern is the rising number of homeless in the State of Hawaii, which has prompted authorities to look for concrete and lasting solutions to the problem. This paper will examine the general homelessness situation in the City & County of Honolulu, analyze the local government’s revenues and possible funding options, and look into the public policy issues concerning the revenues.

Local government’s revenues and possible funding options

There are a number of possible revenue sources which the City & County of Honolulu administration can exploit in order to solve the current homelessness crisis. The City & County of Honolulu has already prepared a budget proposal that will be used to solve the homelessness crisis. A number of housing programs have been commissioned with an aim of increasing the number of homes to residents. Notable of these is the Housing First Program which focuses on providing homes based on the state of the citizen’s homelessness. The program was initiated in 2015, and will first provide homes to the chronic homeless citizens. Since the inception of the program, 173 homeless persons have benefited from the project (Botelho (2015). The program ensures the homeless individuals acquire permanent housing in addition to receiving social support services such as medical care to cater to their mental needs and help them regain stability.

According to City and County of Honolulu (2016b), Honolulu’s local government has set aside an operating budget that will ensure the Housing First Program is realized. A total of $5.4 million will be used to cater for rent and support services. A further $1.2 million will be used to acquire housing vouchers. The local government has also initiated a homeless transition project that will cost up to $1.8 million. The entire project is expected to provide housing to about 315 households once complete. The housing First Program pilot phase was implemented in 2012 with a total budget of $1 million. This project focused on the chronically homeless in the regions of downtown Honolulu and Waikiki. The pilot phase of the program helped a total of 71homeless residents. A total of 48 individuals were able to access permanent housing during the pilot phase. About 7 of those in the program left for foster homes while another 7 returned to their former state of homelessness.

There are a number of possible funding options for Honolulu’s local government. The possible source of funding for the homeless project include appropriations by the legislature, grants from public agencies and private entities/individuals, funding from federal government, gifts & donations, and real estate conveyance tax. The major source of funding for the homeless project will come from appropriations made by the legislature. These appropriations are made based on the taxes and other revenues obtained by the state. In 2014 financial year, the Honolulu City Council acquired funding to the tune of $47.2 million which was a new high in terms of housing budget.  In 2015, a total of $3 million was spent in the Housing First Program. The largest source of revenue for the city is real property tax collections which account for 34.06 percent of the total 2016 financial year budget. Sewer revenues account for 13.26 percent of the total and 4.19 percent for solid waste management (“City and County of Honolulu,” 2016b).

An important source of funding for the homeless project in Honolulu has been the city’s Affordable Housing Fund. In this program, a proportion of the total real property tax revenues is set aside for the purpose of maintaining affordable housing to all individuals who receive incomes of less than 50% of Hawaii’s median household income. This significantly helps in providing houses and also for maintenance purposes.

The homeless project also receives federal support in terms of finances. In the 2016 fiscal year, $1.2 million of the total budget is expected to come from the federal government and will go towards funding rental vouchers in Honolulu. In 2016, the city expects 3.3% of its budget to be funded through federal grants. Another major source of funding for the homeless project is grants received from public agencies and private entities and persons. Grants for the homeless are important in backing the program. In 2015, Honolulu received housing and community development grant amounting to $143,582. State grants account for 0.27 percent of the total budget. In 2015, the state of Hawaii received a grant of $945,101 from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). This grant would be used to support the chronically homeless persons with mental issues or substance abusers in the entire region including Honolulu (“City and County of Honolulu,” 2016a).

The federal funds supports a number of programs mean to alleviate the situation of the homeless in Honolulu region. Some of the programs directly backed by the federal fund include Rental Assistance, Loans for Homeowners, Continuum of Care Program, Community Development Block Grants, and others (“City and County of Honolulu,” 2016b). Gifts and donations are source of funds for use in the homeless project as well as other development program. The program receives support from nonprofit groups, local communities, and businesses. Lastly, the homelessness public policy obtains funding from a general obligation bond (GOB). A GOB is a municipal bond where local governments borrow money and use tax revenues and other available resources as collateral for the debt. By using the GOB for funding purposes, the local or state government is able to save on high interest payments which characterize other types of debt funding.

Restrictions that are (or could be) placed on those revenues

Various restrictions may be placed on the revenues either by the local authorities, state government, City ordinances, Honolulu’s City Charter or even the federal government. Homelessness is complex problem at Honolulu and requires close monitoring to ensure resources are carefully distributed to tackle the problem. The state has introduced a number of restrictions guiding the use of revenues in the various cities. The first limitation involves the distribution of funds among the various programs. The state regulation requires Honolulu to appropriate a segment of the general revenue meant for the housing program to mental health and substance abuse.  This falls under the housing support services and is implemented by the department of health dealing with drug and substance abuse (“City and County of Honolulu,” 2016a). The amount varies depending on the budgetary provisions made annually.

The state legislation requires local governments to set aside funds for a rental assistance program. A rental assistance program targets homeless working persons who rent houses to obtain permanent housing. The maximum subsidy per household is $300 per month, provided the applicants pay 40% of their total gross income. The program targets all individuals regardless of whether they are substance abusers. The local government is not supposed to impose any restrictions on the benefactors provided they meet the outlined conditions. The state also requires all local governments to appropriate a certain amount of funds every year for the special housing program. This will ensure continuation of the program. State legislation also places restrictions on property tax rates that can be applied to property owners. It is worth noting that the local governments collects a significant proportion of the revenue from property tax levy.

The state government requires that funds meant for the affordable housing program be used for projects that will be affordable to the common people in the long-run. This calls for development of cost effective houses meant for those in the low income bracket.  The income stream generated from rent of the properties can be used by developers to secure loans. Developers also face restrictions on the amount of rent they can charge for the property. Current laws stipulate that developers can charge up to a maximum of 28% of the monthly income of the tenants. This limits the amount of income developers can collect and subsequently the amount debt they can secure based on the income stream. Regarding the use of general obligation bond to make borrowings, the city imposes a 20 percent limitation on the amount of borrowings that can be made under ordinary circumstances. The limitation specifies that borrowings may not exceed 20 percent of the entire operating budget.

Funds provided by the federal government also come with a number of restrictions. For instance, rent from the units must be within particular limitations which are published annually by (HUD). The maximum purchase price of the units are also determined by HUD. Specific maximum per-unit subsidy limits must also be observed during the implementation of the project. An important requirement by the federal government is the need for proper auditing of funds used in the project. The federal government requires the participating jurisdiction to conduct thorough assessments of the source and application of funds to determine whether costs are reasonable. This ensures that integrity is enhanced in the homelessness program.

City Ordinances provided by the Mayor may also impose restrictions in the use of the funds. For instance, decisions on available land on which houses for the homeless may be constructed are made by the local government. The local government also establishes small buildings that can be converted into homeless sheltering with minimal costs. Honolulu City Charter is another important document in the restriction of funds used for homelessness public policy. The City Charter document is important in regulating the use of homelessness public policy funds in running of departments and other offices that coordinate various activities. For instance, the Office of Strategic Development receives a portion of funds from the homelessness program in order to run its daily activities. The amount of funds allocated is outlined by the City Charter which must be signed by the Mayor. The local government thus have authority over how the funds may be used. Nonetheless, it must also comply with state and federal government regulations.

How public policy decisions affect the receipt of revenues

Public policy decisions are fundamental in determining the amount of revenues received in Honolulu. Homelessness affects a large number of Honolulu’s residents. The public policy decisions greatly determines the quality of life of individuals in the region. Public policy decisions influence the type of revenue system in place. A quality revenue system consists of elements that complement each other as opposed to being contradictory. The revenue system should enhance the relationship between the local government and the state. State may formulate public policy decisions that influences the mandate of local government in revenue collection. For instance, the state may require local government to introduce new form of taxes. The state also establishes the appropriate tax rates that determines the amount of revenue that can be collected. Higher tax rates can lead to higher revenue collection but on the flipside may lead to inflation or force businesses to close down.

State governments enacts decisions on the overall limitations of state government concerning collection of revenue. When local governments are unable to raise required revenue to support its basic operations, the state should come up with solutions to address such issues. State policymakers may recommend subsidizing the local government to cater for such deficits. Public policy decisions may also affect the receipt of revenues based on data gathering and analysis conducted during evaluation of various projects. Policymakers rely on gathered data to make decisions including financial projections. Inadequate data may cause policymakers to make the wrong financial projections and budget appropriations. This may impact the revenue available for use in the homelessness program. Policymakers can only make good decisions when key data is available in accordance to the local, state, and federal perspectives.

Public policy decisions determine the methods used in collecting revenue. The best way to collect revenue would be through implementing a mix of taxes. Imposing a variety of taxes ensures that revenue collection is not significantly affected by economic blips in particular sectors of the economy that yield taxes. For instance, the region should not rely solely on tax collected from tourism. Rather, it should ensure that the tax base is diversified. Public policy decisions made should ensure that there is relative stability in the collection of revenue. Public policy decisions facilitates accountability in the administration of revenues. Accountability is crucial when accessing grants and other forms of funds especially from the federal government. Lack of accountability may mean that available funds were used inappropriately which may cause various donors to withdraw their funding from various projects. Policymakers must ensure that there are oversight authorities responsible for ensuring that revenues are fairly and efficiently utilized for the benefit of the greater majority.

Public policy decisions significantly impacts the choices of revenue sources to be used. Policymakers may decide on a variety of revenue sources available such as taxes, grants, external debts, local debt financing, and use of government bonds. All these are various sources of revenue that policymakers can choose from. The choice of revenue source depends on a multiplicity of factors that could be country-specific or be determined by global economic trends. The choice may for instance depend on the public authority that the policymakers have, while at times may be shaped by political forces. Public policy decisions also influence aggregate economic performance. Policymakers are involved in making decisions that can enhance the national output of a country. The government is responsible for formulating policies that fix the macro and micro problems that a country may be experiencing. Proper economic policies contribute to a higher economic output and consequently higher revenue for the government.

Public policy decisions on the amount of borrowings to make also affect revenue. The state makes such decisions based on thorough analysis of the economic conditions in the local environment. The state may also introduce budget curbs aimed at controlling the level of spending. Such curbs may reduce the amount of funds local governments require. The relationship between the country and the source of revenue may also determine the amount of revenue received. A state which maintains good public relations with others may be at a better position of receiving funds should the need arise. Collective bargaining by local government may also affect the receipt of revenues. The local government may decide to collectively bargain for an increment in its share of the revenue from the state.

Economic conditions that affect revenue projections

The economic conditions prevailing in the country and across the world affect the projections made by policymakers relating to expected revenues. The amount of revenue is dependent on taxable income, corporate profits, wages and salaries, and other forms of income received by individuals. The first form of economic conditions that affect revenue projections is the unemployment rate in the country. The unemployment rate in the country determines the personal income levels. The amount of income tax is directly affected by changes in personal income levels. Income tax is progressive in nature. When there is high unemployment, income tax revenue also falls accordingly. Policymakers must therefore take into consideration the unemployment levels while making revenue projections (Kemp, 2012).

The unemployment rate is determined by the business cycle prevailing in a country.  A business cycle is characterized by two major phases which include expansion and contraction. Expansion is marked by growth, whereby a large segment of the population is involved in productive economic activities. During contraction, there is negative growth and people lose jobs. This is the period when unemployment rate is highest.  For instance during the 2008 recession, majority of people lost their jobs in the United States and other parts of the world. This led to a reduction in personal incomes and corporate profits. Consequently, revenue projections were low during the period (Kemp, 2012). This is because the taxable income and corporate profits which are a major source of revenue were low.

The level of GDP also affects revenue projections in a country. GDP of a country is the gross domestic product. In other words, this is the value of all final goods and services produced within a country’s borders less imports (Howlett, 2011). GDP level is used as an indicator of economic performance. A high economic performance as indicated by GDP levels improves the bottom line of the budget. A slow or negative growth in GDP may have several consequences on a country’s budget. First, this would mean less amount of taxable income available. Policymakers would thus lower their revenue projections. This may also create the need to borrow funds to cater for the income gaps. Policymakers partly rely on GDP estimates to make revenue projections. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) provides policymakers with key estimates and economic analysis including GDP projections. These estimates are then used to make various decisions in various states including revenue projections. CBO’s projection of the nominal levels of GDP has the greatest impact on projected revenue amount in a country (Howlett, 2011).

The Interest rate is also a significant determiner of revenue projections. Revenue projections heavily rely on interest rates in the country. Changes in interest rates have various impacts both to firms, individuals and the government in terms of borrowing (Howlett, 2011). Higher interest rates may have different impacts on the economy. First, they may lead to increased cost of borrowing. The increased cost of borrowing means that the state government will have to pay more money during debt servicing that it would ordinarily pay. This means that more funds will be channeled towards debt servicing. Such a scenario may lead to low revenue projections. Higher cost of borrowing may also have negative implications on citizens. Individuals having loans will be forced to spend more and hence less disposable incomes. This reduces their consumption and overall aggregate demand. Higher interest rates also increases mortgage interest payments and on the other hand reduce personal disposable income. Another impact of higher interest rates is the increased propensity to save.

Generally, higher interest rates lead to low aggregate demand in the economy. This have several consequences on the economy such as low economic growth, unemployment levels increase, and negative balance of payments. The government pays higher interest rates on current loans reducing the amount of money available for various projects in the country. Such conditions negatively affects revenue projections.  Policymakers analyze interest rates which gives a measure of the economic conditions in the country.

The level of prices is also used to determine revenue projections in a country. Inflation has mixed effects on the projected revenue of a country. The actual impacts of inflation produces offsetting impacts on a state’s revenues (“OECD,” 2016). Nonetheless, the net impacts would be budget deficits, meaning less revenues for a country. On one hand, inflation increases interest rates which leads to high cost of servicing debts. If interest rates are controlled, the situation is rather different. Increases in prices may lead to higher wages and salaries, profits, and other forms of income. This in turn leads to higher incomes from personal taxes and corporation taxes. High inflation rates may discourage spending, and diminish consumer’s disposable incomes. This is especially when wage increases does not reflect the actual inflation in a country. This may lead to low aggregate demand and consequently low income for the state. High inflation may thus lead to low revenue projections.

Recommend a revenue policy that aligns with community values

It is important for the local government of Honolulu to establish a revenue policy that will align with community policies. The best one would be a cost effective policy that does not add pressure to the community since majority of Honolulu residents can barely afford to pay for basic amenities including rent. In this case, public-private partnerships would be the best policy for raising more revenue without impacting the cost of living of the residents. Public-private partnership policy can enable the local government to raise more revenue without necessarily resulting to higher tax rates which may have detrimental impacts to the economy (Delmon, 2011). Currently, the revenue derived from property tax cannot be able to cater for the increasing government demands. Increase in taxation will directly or indirectly impact hard on consumers that the government is trying to protect from high prices of goods and services. For instance, increase in corporation tax will lead to passing of the tax burden to consumers. As a result, the impact falls on consumers.

Public-private partnerships present an integrated and comprehensive way of raising revenues in the face of budget constraints (Delmon, 2011). Public-private partnership programs enable the government to involve the private sector in developing and improving public resources. This is an innovative way to raise revenue without having to increase taxes. The program involves leveraging community properties or assets for advertising, sponsorships, naming rights, and other benefits. Public-private partnership may also involve the development of properties such as housing projects, road construction projects, network infrastructure project, and others. Public-private partnerships can also aim at improving other community services such as education, health, training, and to create employment opportunities.

Public-private partnerships can be used to fund projects such as the homelessness project in Honolulu and other parts. This will enable the local government to achieve its housing objectives without the need to increase taxes or borrowings. However, the local government should develop proper guidelines before engaging the private sector to avoid conflicts of interest. The private sector is motivated by profits while on the other hand, the local government is motivated by the need to improve the welfare of the citizens. The private sector must thus bee checked to ensure that the motivation for profits does not override the overall goal of the project which is to deliver affordable housing to the poor. The local government must ensure that the private partner selected aligns with the community’s values, needs and interests. The government must thus develop policies and procedures that will help the private partner to align with community values and to deliver the requirements of the project as expected.

In conclusion, Hawaii State should develop and implement appropriate policy frameworks to contain the increasingly homelessness problem. Homelessness is currently as issue of major concern in the area after it emerged that more than 7,000 residents lack adequate shelter. Worse still, the number of homeless individuals in the area is rising each year. The City & County of Honolulu must address the housing issue by critically reevaluating its revenue reserves and seeking funding options when budget deficits are experienced. Possible funding options include federal grants, raising funds through issuance of bonds, tax revenue collected, and gifts and donations from other countries, agencies and individuals. The City & County of Honolulu must take into consideration public policy issues concerning raising of revenue to fund the homelessness program. For instance, it is important to ensure that funds are raised in a manner that does not impact the welfare of citizens through raising taxes.

 

References

Botelho, G. (2015, Oct. 17). Homeless emergency declared in Hawaii. CNN. Retrieved from:             http://edition.cnn.com/2015/10/17/us/hawaii-homeless-emergency/

City and County of Honolulu. (2016a). The Executive Program and Budget Fiscal Year 2016.      Retrieved from: https://www.honolulu.gov/rep/site/bfs/bfs_docs/FY16_-         _Operating_Program_and_Budget.pdf

City and County of Honolulu. (2016b). What is the City Doing to Help? Mayor’s Office of           Housing. Retrieved from: http://www.honolulu.gov/housing/ohou-what.html

Delmon, J. (2011). Public-Private Partnership Projects in Infrastructure: An Essential Guide for             Policy Makers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Howlett, C. (2011). Budget and Economic Outlook: An Update. DIANE Publishing.

Kemp, R. L. (2012). The municipal budget crunch: A handbook for professionals. Jefferson,        N.C: McFarland & Co.

OECD. (2016). Real GDP forecast (indicator). Retrieved from: doi: 10.1787/1f84150b-en           (Accessed on 06 April 2016)

You will now complete your secondary market research and consider what distinguishes your company from your competitors,

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You will now complete your secondary market research and consider what distinguishes your company from your competitors, their products, and / or the price of their products and services.

The key word in Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is “unique.” There are very few products or services that are truly one of a kind. In order to target the demographic for your company, you need to pinpoint what

Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

 Unique Selling Proposition (USP) Sample Paper

Walmart

Name

Institutional Affiliation

Date

Wal-Mart is a multinational retail corporation dealing in warehouse stores and discount departmental stores. The retail corporation has its headquarters in the United States, in the Arkansas state. Walmart focuses on giving customers the best value for their money by providing quality products at low prices, and with outstanding customer service. This sets Wal-Mart apart from the rest of the competition.

Walmart’s unique selling preposition is a focus on “everyday low prices” (EDLP) while delivering quality products to customers (“Walmart,” 2014). The retail corporation stocks a broad assortment of products such as national brands and local merchandise that reflects the need of consumers in the area of operation. The company focuses on an “everyday low cost” strategy that aims at keeping costs low. This enables Wal-Mart to sell at relatively low prices compared to other retailers in the market (“Walmart,” 2014).

Walmart has a number of marketing objectives. The retail corporation seeks to deliver locally relevant products to customers at low prices. This can also be seen as marketing segmentation where various stores across the world will stock locally relevant merchandise. Wal-Mart also seeks to expand its product delivery channels to include e-commerce (“Walmart,” 2014). This means that the retail store will integrate digital and physical platforms to reach out to as many consumers as possible. Online stores will appeal to consumers who prefer shopping online. Secondary research was conducted by reviewing Walmart’s 2014 annual report.

To sum up, USP may be defined as the distinct value or characteristic of a product that enables Walmart to increase its market share (Steinhardt, 2010). Marketing objectives highlights the active steps the retail store has taken to achieve a unique selling preposition.

SWOT Analysis

Strengths

  1. Cost leadership in the retail business
  2. Expansion into the international market
  3. Stocks a wide range of merchandise
  4. Established brand name
  5. Logistical and supply chain capabilities

Weaknesses

  1. High employee turnover
  2. The retailer has faced a number of labor related lawsuits
  3. Some stores are crowded
  4. Increase in expenses may force the retail store to adjust prices

Opportunities

  1. The opportunity to attract more customers through online platform.
  2. Walmart’s own label merchandise is gaining acceptance and can boost growth
  3. Growth opportunities in emerging markets
  4. Growth in operating income in 2014.

Threats

  1. High competition from other retailers
  2. Increase in commodity prices
  3. High competition from online stores
  4. Slow growth in developed and developing markets experienced 2014 (Tabuchi & Abrams, 2014).

Walmart supply chain and operational system aims at enhancing the everyday low prices model. As such it is important to use optimized transportation routes which can enable a business achieve high efficiencies in the supply chain (Tabuchi & Abrams, 2014). Mechanizing all the distribution centers and stores can also help in labor cost reduction. Outside vendors may be costly so it is advisable to do everything in-house.

The company’s pricing strategy is in line with the company’s pricing objective. The company seeks to become the price leader in the industry by charging lowest possible prices (Tabuchi & Abrams, 2014). The company’s objective is to deliver a variety of merchandise to consumers at low prices. A SWOT analysis is an important tool used in determining the internal strengths and weaknesses and the external opportunities and threats facing a company (Ferrell & Hartline, 2011). The importance of describing the supply chain and pricing strategy is to show how the company integrates the information to its decision making using the SWOT analysis.

 

References

Ferrell, O. C., & Hartline, M. D. (2011). Marketing strategy. Australia: South-Western Cengage Learning.

Steinhardt, G. (2010). The product manager’s toolkit: Methodologies, processes, and tasks in       high-tech product management. Heidelberg: Springer.

Tabuchi, H., & Abrams, R. (2014, Nov. 13). After a Bump in Sales, Walmart Braces for a            Competitive Holiday Season. The New York Times.

Walmart, (2014). Annual Report. Retrieved from             http://stock.walmart.com/files/doc_financials/2014/Annual/2014-annual-report.pdf

Five Different ways to start an introduction to a research paper

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As it is basic, an introduction gives the limelight of the content of the research paper. A research paper is an extended piece of academic work that requires thorough and detailed research. The introduction should tell the reader about what the research work is all about. There are different ways that one can use in writing an introduction to a research paper. They include but may not be limited to the following:

  1. Starting by giving a quotation or an anecdote. The suitability of this method lies in the sense that it eases the readers understanding of the content of your research paper. It gives a relevant and memorable quotation from a popular person or a piece of work, thus creating a link with the central thesis and the research paper.
  2. Giving the definitions to the terms that are not familiar. A paper that deals with a particular paper with a specific topic that the audience might not be familiar with needs explanation. In this method, the writer starts by giving definition to some specific terms and phrases. The definition of the terms should however not be based on the dictionary meanings. This means that the definition should be contextual, focused on the content of the topic of the research.
  3. Contrasting. When you starting contrasting, you are giving the opposite of what your research is about. Basically, this means that you are disagreeing or opposing with what does not support your argument.
  4. The funnel method is also used when one wants to write an introduction to a research paper. In this method, the introduction is broad and general, but it progressively narrows down and becomes specific at the end.
  5. The foreshadowing of the conclusion. Ultimately, this method is deemed very suitable and applicable. In this method, the writer provides the conclusion in advance in order to help the reader know what the paper is about.  However, you should make the reader oblivious of research and the methods used.
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