Budget Primer

Section 4: Classification of State Spending

The State of Rhode Island classifies state spending by function of government and by category of expenditure.

Function of Government

Function of government classifies expenditures by grouping agencies which make expenditures for similar programs and purposes. There are six functions of government defined in the Budget.

General Government includes the administrative and regulatory functions of state government. Certain elected officials (Governor, Lieutenant Governor, General Treasurer, Secretary of State), the General Assembly, and the Department of Administration are agencies that perform an administrative function. The Department of Business Regulation, the Department of Labor and Training, and the Public Utilities Commission are examples of agencies that perform a regulatory function.

Human Services is the function that provides social services to individuals. Services provided include: the care of the disabled by the Department of Behavioral Health, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals; child protective and social services provided by the Department of Children, Youth and Families; health programs at the Department of Health and the Department of Human Services; financial assistance and social services provided by the Department of Human Services; and pharmaceutical assistance and home health care at the Department of Elderly Affairs. The Executive Office of Health and Human Services centrally coordinates the legal, budgetary, and policymaking activities of the Human Services agencies.

The Education function provides education services to Rhode Islanders. The State Board of Education includes the Department of Education and Higher Education, which provide direct education services.

Public Safety is the function that provides safety and security services to Rhode Island citizens. Agencies in this function include the Department of Corrections, the Judiciary, the Attorney General, and the Department of Public Safety.

The Natural Resources function protects the natural and physical resources of the state and regulates the use of those resources. Agencies included in this function are the Department of Environmental Management, and the Coastal Resources Management Council.

Transportation includes the Department of Transportation, which is the only agency in this function. It is responsible for maintaining and constructing highways in Rhode Island, and for planning and financing all surface transportation modes.

Categories of Expenditures

Categories of expenditures classify expenditures by budgeting and accounting objects of expenditure. There are seven categories of expenditures.

Personnel includes the salaries, wages, and benefits of state employees, as well as personnel services purchased from outside contractors and vendors.

Operating Supplies and Expenses include expenses incurred while conducting the day-to-day business of state government. This category is often referred to simply as "operating". Operating expenses comprise non-personnel expenditures for operations of state government, including facilities maintenance, program and office supplies, rental of outside property, telecommunications, and insurance.

Aid to Local Units of Government consists of payments made to governmental units which provide services at the local level. An example includes Education Aid to local school districts is an example.

Assistance, Grants and Benefits constitutes payments to individuals and agencies which are not governmental units. Drugs, medicine and nursing facilities for the Medicaid programs, the pharmaceutical assistance program for the elderly, and cash assistance payments for the Rhode Island Works, Supplemental Security Income, and Child Care Assistance entitlements are a few examples.

Capital Purchases and Equipment include capital improvements and new capital construction financed via the Rhode Island Capital Plan Fund (RICAP), general revenues, or federal funds. Please note that the majority of capital improvements, supported by other forms of financing (i.e. state debt instruments), are generally found in the Capital Budget.

Debt Service includes payments on short term tax anticipation notes, long term general obligation bonds, Rhode Island Refunding Bond Authority lease payments, certificates of participation payments for the Intake Service Center, Attorney General's administrative office, Information Technology, and the Rhode Island School for the Deaf; and lease payments to the Convention Center Authority.

Operating Transfers include inter-fund and inter-agency transfers of financial resources.


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Series 1: The State Budgeting Process

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