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We appreciate his support and value his ongoing commitment to bolster our public universities in setting these priorities for our state. But with a growing economy and rising workforce expectations, we need even more students throughout our state who are prepared to learn after high school. Sigmund, President and CEO, Arizona Charter Schools Association "Governor Ducey released a budget proposal that reflects his commitment to K education and makes crucial investments in Arizona schools, teachers and students.

That includes much needed additional resources for capital, teacher pay and other school needs.


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But now it is time for all of our schools to have the money restored. This money will bring the latest technology to our classrooms and prepare students for success in careers after school. Janice Palmer, Vice President and Director of Policy, Helios Education Foundation "Too many times, schools must choose between funding inside the classroom and funding the capital needs that facilitate quality education.

This additional funding acknowledges that all needs are important. These funds can be used for a number of purposes and has the potential to free up dollars to support other priorities such as increasing teacher pay. While we cannot fix the entirety of our funding issues overnight, this proposed budget is an important step forward. This supports the important role we play in Workforce Development. A lot of us have a sense of urgency to improve the education level of kids in our state. Today we can pause and thank the Governor for this important step addressing the recession-era cuts.

Current services or baseline budgeting does something similar for the entire state budget. A current services baseline projects what the state would have to spend on a given program — such as health care for poor children, property tax reductions for senior citizens, or economic development assistance to businesses — in order to maintain the program in its current form. While the revenue forecast is a constraint on the budget — because the state cannot in most cases plan to spend more money than it expects to collect in revenue — a current services budget does not act as a constraint.

A current services budget allows policymakers and the public to readily understand whether a program or service is being increased or decreased. For example, if the program expands and contracts as the number of eligible people such as schoolchildren or Medicaid recipients goes up or down, what will it cost to meet the expected need? If the program serves a fixed population, such as recipients of a limited number of economic development grants, what will it cost for the grants to cover the same types of activities as they did the year before? And, if the program requires the heavy use of vehicles such as highway patrol , what will it cost to continue operating at current levels while accommodating an anticipated increase in fuel costs?

A current services baseline excludes the impact of proposed policy changes, such as changes in school funding formulas or Medicaid eligibility. This approach allows policymakers and the public to compare the baseline to a proposed or enacted budget allotment to see whether the budget reflects a spending cut or increase. Preparing a current services budget does not obligate policymakers to fund the programs and services at the levels indicated. It simply allows them to understand the impact of the funding decisions they will make as part of the political process.

States should not be deterred from publishing current services estimates — especially for initial efforts — if they lack the resources to calculate all of the potential variables. Some information is better than none. To this maintenance level, the state adds costs expected in the upcoming biennium, including changes in rent and compensation and some one-time costs.

In this case, a 0. Washington state provides this level of detail only for the upcoming biennium, however. It provides a more summary maintenance level presentation for the biennium after that. To make the spending side of the budget as understandable and useful as possible to policymakers and the public, states should:. A current services budget should include a clear and complete description of the assumptions used to estimate the current services baseline.

This allows analysts and others to decide if the state-defined baseline would be sufficient to maintain programs at current levels. It publishes the various inflation factors it uses for different types of spending, as well as its assumptions regarding salary increases for public employees and the factors it uses for other types of adjustments.


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  • Arizona provides another example. Together, these two adjustments are equivalent to a current services presentation. This type of transparency allows analysts and others to decide if a strictly defined baseline is appropriate for current circumstances. For example, baseline spending might be atypically low because of spending cuts due to a recession or atypically high because of responses to a natural disaster.

    Detailed information on the assumptions used can facilitate decision-making about whether circumstances require additional adjustments. It should be noted, however, that even less comprehensive methodologies than Connecticut or Arizona employ for calculating current services can provide useful information to policymakers and the interested public.

    But detailed current services estimates, provided down to the level of individual programs or line items, are also important. It does not help policymakers or the public very much to know only that proposed funding for a division or department as a whole is above or below the current services level. A major purpose of a current services budget is to reveal the real-world impact of proposed funding changes — impacts on specific programs and specific categories of residents. The more detailed the presentation, the more useful it can be.

    Few states that prepare current services estimates do so for years beyond the upcoming fiscal year or biennium. They are Alaska which shows nine years beyond the upcoming fiscal year , the District of Columbia and New York three years , [18] Arizona and South Dakota two years , and Washington state an additional biennium. Some states that provide current services projections for the upcoming fiscal year or biennium switch to a different basis when doing multi-year projections.

    That is only possible if the detailed current services estimates are published alongside the detailed proposals in the executive budget. By preparing high-quality, multi-year revenue forecasts and multi-year expenditure forecasts on a current services basis, a state can give policymakers and residents the best possible information to debate potential policies. Since states must balance their budgets, a revenue forecast for the coming year or biennium constrains policy choices in the sense that budgeted spending should not exceed predicted revenues except when the state uses funds from a reserve account or carryover funds from a prior year.

    But the forecast does not remove any policy options. Policymakers can choose from a variety of ways to bring the budget into balance, including raising revenues and cutting spending. Similarly, out-year revenue forecasts can identify potential problems from current policy paths, but policymakers always have options to forestall those problems. Current services budgets do not constrain policy choices on funding levels, either.

    Policymakers may choose to fund at less than or more than the current services level. But current services budgets allow far better understanding of the consequences of those choices on programs, services, and residents. And, like multi-year revenue forecasts, multi-year current services estimates can avert fiscal crises that result from failure to understand the full impact of policy changes. High-quality, multi-year forecasting also makes it clear whether budget gaps or related problems stem from the revenue or spending side of the budget — a question that can provoke considerable controversy.

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    The majority of states have structural deficits, considerable research shows. While states are highly attuned to cyclical deficits caused by recessions, many states do not recognize when their budget gaps are structural in nature. Instead, they plug their structural deficits with revenue increases, spending cuts, or gimmicks such as postponing spending or accelerating revenues. These gimmicks often make future budgets even harder to balance, and they certainly do not fix the underlying structural imbalance between revenues and spending.

    By highlighting structural deficits, high-quality, long-term revenue and expenditure forecasting would give policymakers time to forestall deficits. This would allow states to maintain needed investments in human and physical capital that contribute to economic growth without the abrupt funding cuts that often occur when unforeseen deficits appear.

    Only Alaska , New York , and Washington state come close to this standard of multi-year revenue forecasting along with multi-year current services projections. But a significant number of states do part of the job well. With modest improvements, they could make this a less exclusive club — and, in the process, improve their ability to invest in economic growth and a better quality of life.

    Mikesell and Justin M. Arguably, however, it acts as a constraint in every state that has to enact a balanced budget. A variety of research has tried to determine whether one method is superior to others but has largely concluded that this is impossible to say definitively. See, for example, Donald J. Boyd, Lucy Dadayan, and Robert B. Rockefeller Institute of Government, March , pp. For more information please see Elizabeth C.

    A few of the states with a consensus process do not use it consistently. Certificates of deposit offer higher interest rates but less liquidity. Money-market accounts usually offer higher rates than checking accounts but may have various restrictions. Mutual funds also may offer higher rates, but investors should be aware that such accounts might not be insured through the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

    Robert Moskowitz explains the advantages and potential problems with online banking. She also describes some of the laws enforced by the Federal Reserve Board. Next, the lesson introduces some people applying for bank loans. One couple needs a loan for a new roof, and a young man wants to apply for a business loan.

    The loan officers explain the five Cs of credit: Maxine Sweet of Experian describes the contents of a credit report and why it is important to keep the report clean. She also describes some of the consequences of bad credit. Mortgage loan officer Allycyn Bennett explains the effects of declaring bankruptcy.

    She also points out that demonstrating an ability to repay credit debt is essential to establishing a credit rating. Credit counselor Eric Imperial discusses important topics related to debt consolidation, including using home equity to refinance high interest loans. Financial planner Ann Egan explains the Rule of 78s, also called the sum of-the-digits rule. She points out that consumers who understand this interest-rate calculation will realize it may not be in their best interest to extend the terms of most loans or to borrow more than their equity.

    Finally, financial adviser Sharon K. Pinkerton discusses how credit insurance might be helpful in certain situations. Credit life insurance and credit property insurance on some purchases may be a good idea, but consumers should weigh the costs with the benefits. Author Deborah McNaughton explains the importance of formulating a plan. Gerri Detweiler of Debt Counselors of America states that one of the reasons there are so many people with credit problems is that credit is so easily available.

    Financial adviser David C. Jones explains that credit counseling may be a better alternative to bankruptcy. Jonathan Pond describes some advantages and disadvantages of a debt-consolidation loan. Maxine Sweet of Experian states that missed payments can stay on a credit report for up to seven years and bankruptcies for up to 10 years.

    She also advises consumers to beware of certain credit-repair scams. Finally, financial adviser Dianne Wilkman explains how some credit counselors can negotiate with lenders to work out a repayment plan. Consumers are protected from errors on their credit reports through the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The Fair Credit Billing Act protects consumers from having to pay for faulty merchandise. Finally, the video introduces a young couple who face declaring bankruptcy as their only solution to credit problems.

    Consumer affairs specialist Pastor Herrera offers the family advice on their major purchasing decision. A price analysis of a big-ticket item, such as a computer, can be accomplished using a matrix. Herrera explains the importance of negotiating the right price. He also discusses the cost variables of buying on credit.

    A final factor in any purchase decision is the warranty, or warranty options.

    Smart shopping is an ongoing activity that involves continual reevaluation. The types of warranties are expressed, implied, full, and limited. Consumers can usually have their complaints handled at the place of purchase, but there are many other resources if you are not satisfied with the resolution. Students are encouraged to evaluate the public transportation options where they live. For students whoneed to purchase a vehicle, the advantages of buying vs. Many potential problems involved with buying a used car are explored, as well as consumer protection laws.

    Charlie Vogelheim with Kelley Blue Book discusses the fixed and variable costs connected with operating and maintaining a car. Students also learn about many automobile rating services, especially those available online. Finally, the importance of proper mechanical maintenance is discussed. Home ownership is usually much more than a financial decision. Most first-time home buyers will not be able to buy their ultimate dream house right away. Nevertheless, by compromising when they first get into the real estate market, they can begin building up equity that can be used to leverage up to a home closer to their ideal.

    The process of eventually acquiring that ideal home is often more challenging and develops more slowly than most people would like. Home buyers will need to stay focused on their long term financial plan in order to attain their dream home. The father and son discuss how to go about getting the insurance they need. Cristina Fuentes with American Express offers some advice on how to decide which assets should be protected with insurance coverage. She also explains some of the variables that affect insurance premiums.

    Jonathan Pond offers the following tips to save money on your insurance: He also explains some of the other variables with this type of insurance.

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    Insurance broker Jim Armitage explains why individuals who operate home-based businesses need to have separate insurance coverage for products used for that business. Professional liability insurance and disability insurance are important considerations for home-based business operations. Insurance is necessary for keeping a financial plan on track in the event of unforeseen circumstances. Insurance counselor Julie Schoen comments on why so many people lack medical insurance.

    Insurance broker Rudy Suarez explains that the biggest risk covered by disability insurance is loss of income from employment. He also explains what to look for when selecting a disability insurance policy. Next, students meet two families personally affected by situations that could have been helped by better insurance coverage: To determine how much life insurance you need, it is important to determine how much income your dependents will need for a sufficient period of time.

    The couple from the opening scene meets with an insurance agent to evaluate their situation.

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    They discuss the cost to replace their lost income, their present debts, their future costs, and their current coverage and investments. Corry with First Financial Resources talks about the importance of the independent rating services for insurance companies. He also explains the difference between term insurance and a cash-value policy. Robert Moskowitz demonstrates some helpful online sites, including Insurance Inlinea. Retirement planning specialist Judy Davis explains the difference between life insurance and an annuity. Finally, the couple discusses the various insurance proposals they received.

    Columnist Liz Pulliam explains how to determine if you could benefit from the services of a financial planner. She describes what these planners do, how they are compensated for their services, and how their performance and ethics can be evaluated through background checks available from state and national agencies. Financial journalists Paul B.


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      A stock market, or securities exchange, is a location where certificates, representing ownership of a company, can be exchanged from a seller to a buyer. Finally, Jonathan Pond describes some defensive strategies to use when investing, including stop-loss orders, option strategies, diversification, and picking undervalued stocks.

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      Tom and David Gardner of The Motley Fool point out that investing in a mutual fund does not take as much time and effort as does personal research. Syndicated columnist Russ Wiles discusses how to read a mutual fund prospectus.

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      He also offers some practical advice on selecting a fund. Robert Moskowitz provides information on various Internet sites covering mutual funds. Finally, an investment adviser tries to soothe the concerns of the couple when their mutual fund drops. Financial adviser Ralph L. Block explains two key advantages of REITs: He also notes that 95 percent of all net income from a REIT must be distributed to the shareholders. Next, individuals and marketing professionals in the area of collectibles note that the value of most collectibles is extremely difficult to predict.

      Paine Webber consultant Bambi Holzer explains the benefits of tax-deferred savings plans and the types of corporate retirement plans. At the end of the program, the father and son from the opening scenario discuss the various plans the son has made to secure his retirement income.