Sen. Vincent J. Fumo

District Office

1208 Tasker Street
Phila, PA 19148

Harrisburg Office

545 Main Capitol
Hbg, PA 17120




Appropriation: Legislation authorizing an agency, department, board, commission, or institution to spend a specified amount of money for a stated purpose or purposes during a particular period of time, usually one fiscal year.

Balanced Budget: A budget in which estimated expenditures equal actual and estimated revenues and surplus. The Pennsylvania Constitution requires the Governor to submit a balanced budget and prohibits the General Assembly from appropriating monies in excess of actual and estimated revenues and surplus.

Budget: A statement of the State's program plan, the resources necessary to support that plan, a description of how and for what purposes the resources are to used, and a projection of the effects of the programs on people and the environment.

Capital Budget: The capital budget is that portion of the State Budget that deals with projects for the construction, renovation, improvement, acquisition and original furniture and equipment of any building, structure, facility, land or land rights. Projects must have an estimated useful life in excess of five years and an estimated cost in excess of $100,000. Most of the capital budget projects in the past have been paid from monies raised by the sale of bonds.

Deficit: A fiscal condition which may occur at the end of a fiscal year, whereby expenditures for a fiscal year exceed the actual cash intake of revenues during the same period plus to prior year surplus. The deficit must be paid for out of the next year's revenues.

Fiscal Year: A twelve month period beginning July 1 and ending June 30 of the following calendar year which is used as the State's accounting and appropriation period.

General Appropriation Bill: A single piece of legislation containing numerous individual appropriations. The General Appropriation Bill contains only appropriations for the executive, legislative and judicial departments of the Commonwealth, for the public debt and for public schools. All other appropriations are made by separate bills each concerning one subject.

General Fund: That fund into which the general (non-earmarked) revenues of the State are deposited and from which monies are appropriated to pay the general expenses of the State.

Item Veto: The Pennsylvania Constitution empowers the Governor to disapprove part or all of any item or items of any bill making appropriations of money. The part or parts of the bill approved become law and the item or items disapproved become void. This power is known as the item veto.

Lapse: That portion of an appropriation which was not spent may be lapsed. A lapse reverts to the fund from which it was appropriated and becomes part of the unappropriated surplus. Most appropriations automatically lapsed the end of a fiscal year and require only an administrative action. Continuing appropriations which are made for no fixed period of time lapse where legally terminated or when the purpose for which the funds were appropriated is achieved.

Mandated Expenditures: Expenditures that are authorized and required by legislation other than appropriation acts or required by the Constitution. Such expenditures include payment of public debt.

Nonpreferred Appropriations: An appropriation to any charitable or educational institution not under the absolute control of the Commonwealth which requires the affirmative vote of two-thirds of all members elected to each House of the Legislature.

Official Revenue Estimate: The official estimate of revenues for the coming fiscal year defined by the Governor at the time he signs the General Appropriation Act. It is this revenue estimate which is used to determine whether appropriations are in balance with revenues.

Operating Budget: The operating budget is that portion of the State Budget which deals with the general day to day activities and expenses of State Government, paid for out of revenues from taxes, fees for licenses and permits, etc.

Preferred Appropriation: An appropriation for the ordinary expenses of State Government which requires the approval of a majority of the Senators and Representatives elected to the General Assembly.

Revenue: Monies from taxes, fees, fines, Federal grants, bond sales and other sources deposited in the State Treasury and available as a source of funds to State Government.

Special Fund: A fund in which revenues raised from special sources named by law are deposited (earmarked revenue). Such revenues can be spent only for purposed prescribed by law and for which the revenues were collected. Examples: Motor License Fund, Game Fund and Boat Fund.

Stop Gap Appropriation: An appropriation made for the ordinary functions of State Government in the event regular appropriations have not been made by the beginning of the fiscal year. The single appropriation is apportioned among the various departments and agencies by the Governor. Money spent under a stop gap appropriation is considered to be a part of an agency's regular appropriation once it is passed.

Surplus: A fiscal condition which may occur at the end of a fiscal year, whereby expenditures are less than the actual intake of revenues during the same period. The surplus funds become available for appropriation for the following year.


Copyright 2000 Sen. Vincent J. Fumo