Overview of the Budget Analysts Guide (BAG)

BAG is an Internet browser-based handbook containing a collection of materials which provide descriptions, instructions and examples of the various processes, procedures and documents involved in the preparation, enactment and administration of the Governor’s Budget and other functional responsibilities of budget analysts. There are also links to various non-Finance materials, so that BAG will facilitate a fairly comprehensive reference to materials that are useful to budget analysts. While the handbook is budget oriented, much of it is applicable to state analysts in general.

The materials in this handbook are not meant to be duplicative of Department of Finance (DOF) Budget Letters (BL), budget related Management Memos (MM), or other material available on the DOF website; but, there are links to these documents. It includes the SAM Budgeting Chapter (6000), Out-of-State Travel (0760-0765) and Federal Grants (0900), for easy reference and so that this material will be included in the BAG search function. BAG may also include some detailed instructions that supplement SAM, BLs or budget related MMs.

BAG contains many documents from the DOF-only Finance Analysts Intranet Training Handbook (FAITH). Some of this material is written from a DOF perspective, and primarily for DOF staff. However, we believe that it still has considerable educational and training value for departmental financial staff.

BAG includes a search function for documents actually in BAG , so that analysts can readily locate documents containing certain subjects or words. Users can then use their Internet browser’s "Find" feature to locate the words within the BAG document. (Most browser’s search function operates somewhat differently than the BAG search engine.)

The DOF Budget Operations Support Unit (BOS) converts author’s Word and Excel documents to Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML) coding using the software Front Page, so that users can see the text directly and not have to launch the Word or Acrobat readers. HTML does not provide the same high quality format and style as Word or Excel. Further, Internet browser’s and printers often have their own peculiar page breaks, spacing, and sometimes when printing repeats at the top of a page, a line of text from the previous page. Despite these limitations, HTML overall is better for the purposes of BAG.

Information or materials found via the hypertext links to documents outside of BAG are often not in HTML coding, thus requiring the use of Word or Acrobat readers. A few BAG documents include material which also require use of one of the readers, to improve graphic readability.

The written documents (in contrast to just Internet links) in BAG are assigned to DOF Units or Groups, and then to individuals/positions (generally this is the author; sometimes it is the editor). The documents also include the date of the original document or most recent update.

Suggestions or questions regarding documents in any chapter or section of BAG should be directed to BOS, Letty Zamora at letty.zamora@dof.ca.gov. BOS in turn will forward them to the author for response. Suggestions, questions or problems regarding hypertext links should be directed to BOS; someone in BOS will respond.

Suggestions for new material or hypertext links that you think should be added, should be forwarded to BOS. New material that is not otherwise used for training or which has not been used by DOF publicly will be reviewed by the DOF Assistant Program Budget Managers.

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