Agency Budget Preparation (June – September/October)
Preparation of budget requests varies among agencies reflecting their size, complexity and internal practice. Typically, budget development begins at the program or subdepartmental level, with staff preparing individual program requests. The head of the agency or its top fiscal officer may hold internal hearings at which program managers outline their budgetary needs.
Although agencies begin to analyze their budget needs as early as May or June, the formal budget cycle begins when the Budget Director issues a policy memorandum - the “call letter” - to agency heads. The call letter outlines, in general terms, the Governor’s priorities for the coming year, alerts the agency heads to expected fiscal constraints and informs agencies of the schedule for submitting requests to the Division of the Budget. The call letter signals the official start of the budget process.
By early-mid fall, a final program package is assembled by each agency, which is guided by the instructions set forth by the Division of the Budget, reviewed for consistency with the call letter, and approved by the agency head.