Public service budget constraints: the perspective of rural officials in the U.S.A.☆
Review articleOpen access

AbstractEight counties in the State of Washington served as the focus for a study of issues associated with budget cutbacks. Secondary data were collected from published sources. A mail survey in 1984 of elected and appointed officials provided primary data. The secondary data enabled us to trace changes in expenditure patterns for specific services from 1979 to 1983.Judicial, law enforcement, correctional units and general government received consistent increases, in part because of state mandates. Environmental protection, planning, community development, parks and recreation tended to be cut rather consistently. Social and health services, physical services (roads, bridges, etc.), and education remained relatively stable in most counties.Public officials consider state requirements for improvement in correctional and law enforcement services as the major factor in setting budget priorities. Cutbacks in federal and state funds for environmental protection are part of the basis for county cutbacks, but local priorities appear to support such actions. Despite budget decreases in some service categories, public officials felt that little had been lost in service quality or quantity, although maintenance of plant, equipment, and capital outlays were thought to have suffered rather seriously.

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