Spend Baby Spend!
The end of the 2012 fiscal year is in sight for the federal government. Officially, FY 2012 ends on September 30st, but as August is right around the corner, now is the time to assess the state of budget: what was spent, what is obligated, and what, if anything, is remaining. After taking (read: surviving) Professor Rivenbark’s budgeting class, I have a pretty good understanding of the process, but suffice to say I do not envy federal accountants or budget officers. Actually, I do not envy government accountants or budget officers at any level.
At this time of the FY, no matter what level of government, the important message is this: if you have it, spend it or risk losing it. The image of government agency spending sprees are less than inspiring and are frequently a point of political contention. However, if the funds are not spent, they must be returned. Even worse, this also carries the message to Congress that the amount of money available was more than what was needed and future funding will be reduced. Thus, agencies have strong incentives to spend their funds completely. One of my co-workers explained it to me as “when August rolls around, have your wishlist ready to go.”
Fortunately, since my birthday is in August, I have long subscribed to this philosophy.