A Budget is a management tool that is an expression of planned expenditures and revenues. "Budgets serve many important functions in government. In one sense, budgets are contracts annually agreed on by the executive and legislative branches that allow executive agencies and departments to raise and spend public funds in specified ways for the coming fiscal year, as stated by Stillman in "The American Bureaucracy" He also says that budgets impose a mutual set of legal obligations between the elected and appointed officers of public organizations with regard to taxation and expenditure policies, therefore, is a legal contract that provides a vehicle for fiscal controls over subordinate units of government by the politically elected representatives of the people.
Budgetary decisions are made, according to Rubin in her book The Politics of Public Budgeting, by envisioning governments as "not merely technical managerial documents" but rather "they are also intrinsically and irreducibly political." Her ideas are similar to that of general budget concepts over balancing expenditures and revenues, but differ in fundamental ways according to Stillman. "The open environments within which budgets are developed, the variety of actors involved, the constraints imposed as well as the emphasis on public accountability, give budgets special and distinctive features in the public sector."
The differences between microbudgeting and macrobudgeting are just what their prefaces imply. "On the one hand there are a number budget actors, who have all individual motivations, who strategize to get what they want from the budget. The focus on the actors and their strategies is called microbudgeting." They do not bargain with one another over the budget. They are assigned budget roles by the budget process, the issues they examine are often framed by the budget process, and the timing and coordination of their decisions are often regulated by the budget process, according to Rubin. She goes on to say that actors are not free to come to budget agreements alone. They are bound by the environmental constraints. There are decisions that they are not permitted to make because they are either against the law, the courts disagree, or previous decision makers have bound their hands. "Budgetary decision making has to account not just for budgetary actors but also for budget process and the environment. This more top-down and systematic perspective on budgeting is called macrobudgeting."
Budget strategies are affected by environment, budget process, and individual strategies, all of which influence the outcomes.