Be in the know thanks to your friendly ACOs
As they will tell you, it’s all about allocation, allocation, allocation
Originally Published in Statewise Fall 2008
by Karen Campbell, Katrina Burch and Jerell Lambert
If you look up the word "crucial" in the dictionary, one definition might easily be "properly managing state agency appropriations." What could be more crucial than correctly allocating appropriated funds and posting accurate entries in the Uniform Statewide Accounting System (USAS)?
The appropriation control officers (ACOs) in Fiscal Management assist agencies with this especially important job. Here are some useful facts and tips from ACOs.
Everything you’ve always wanted to know about appropriation numbers
Using the Legislature’s biennial General Appropriations Act (GAA), ACOs assist agencies in establishing annual budgets in USAS. This process involves assigning appropriation numbers, verifying funding sources and reconciling entries to the GAA.
Assigning appropriation numbers for entry into USAS can be confusing. The following lists show various types of appropriations and provide details on how numbers are usually assigned. Please note that USAS refers to the term "program," which is equivalent to the term "strategy" used by the Legislative Budget Board (LBB).
For most strategy/program appropriations, a 1 will prefix the program code to create the appropriation number. The program codes are assigned by the LBB after the GAA is passed by the Legislature. Example: 1 + 3001 (program code) = 13001 (appropriation number)
Generally, rider appropriation numbers begin with a 2 followed by the last digit of the legislative session, such as 0 for the 80th Legislature, followed by the rider number. Example: 2 + 0 + 007 = 20007
- Article IX General Provision
Typically, these numbers also begin with a 2 followed by the last digit of the legislative session, then are followed by 9 for Article IX and end with some part of a section number (or page number) in the GAA that authorizes the appropriation, such as GAA, Article IX-80, Section 19.43, resulting in 20943. Example: 2 + 0 + 9 + 01 = 20901 (for GAA, Article IX-37, Section 8.01)
As a rule, these appropriation numbers begin with a 4 followed by the last digit of the legislative session and end with a sequential number. Example: 4 + 0 + 001, 002... = 40001, 40002...
- Non-Construction Capital Budget
These numbers generally begin with a 5 followed by the last digit of the legislative session and end with a sequential number. Example: 5 + 0 + 001, 002... = 50001, 50002...
- Higher Education
Usually, institutions of higher education roll all strategy/program appropriations into one appropriation number. The number begins with a 10 followed by the agency number. Example: 10 + 731 = 10731
Know your MOFs
Within the GAA, an appropriation is structured as the sum of two parts. The first is the appropriation itself that identifies the legislative authorization, purpose for the appropriation and amount allotted for that purpose.
There is, however, a crucial second part to an appropriation that must always accompany the first: the method of finance (MOF) that indicates sources of funding.
Transaction codes used to enter an appropriation and its MOF into USAS are determined by the sources of cash providing the funding. These sources of cash are categorized into two funding types: committed and collected.
Committed funding includes General Revenue (GR), General Revenue Dedicated funds (GRD) and other appropriated funds. Funding from these sources comes from available fund cash and is a commitment from that specified fund cash. Appropriations given committed funding are considered fully funded on day one of the fiscal year.
Collected funding includes revenues that must be collected by an agency and deposited to the appropriation before the appropriation can be expended. Types of collected funding include appropriated receipts, interagency receipts, grants, General Revenue dedicated funds and federal funds.
A good example of this is when the Legislature gives Texas Parks and Wildlife a budget authority of $1.9 million, but state parks have to collect park fees to fund the budget.
Partially collected budgets
It is also possible to have a mix of committed and collected funding, called a partially collected budget.
Transaction instructions for each budget category are included in Accounting Policy Statements (APSs) and Fiscal Policies and Procedures (FPPs). In addition, you can go to the Appropriations page to find other appropriation control resources and related information.
ACOs consider several resources as required reading for managing and monitoring agency appropriations. Here are three at the top of the list:
Article IX contains many provisions that relate to appropriation management, such as:
- authority to increase your budgets for certain revenues,
- appropriation transfer limitations,
- restrictions on the capital budget, and
- treatment of federal funds as well as earned federal funds.
The Comptroller Manual of Accounts
The manual includes details on:
- revenue, funds and expenditure objects;
- fund descriptions; and
- legal citations/statutes related to the funds.
Legislative Appropriations Requests (LARs)
Your agency’s LAR schedules for appropriated receipts help determine those fees that need to be collected to fund your budgets.
More FMXceptional resources
Finally, here are some tips for agency appropriations analysts:
- Monitor the posting of revenues.
- Monitor budget increases.
- Monitor appropriation transfer authority between programs so as not to
12.5 percent limit.
- Monitor default funds.
- Stay current on Fiscal Policies and Procedures.
Remember the expertise of your ACO is only an email or phone call away. To find ACOs and their contact information, consult the Appropriation Control Officer Directory.