Federal Budget, statement of the planned expenditures and expected revenues of the federal government for one financial year (calendar year). The overall budget consists of a general budget and an equalisation budget. The equalisation budget comprises the estimate and calculation of inflows due to the contraction of financial debts, expenditure and income arising from currency swap contracts and short-term debts. Thus, the federal budget is the numerical representation of the federal government´s intended financial transactions. The federal budget is annually passed by the Nationalrat by adoption of the Federal Finance Act and constitutes the binding basis for the financial management of the federal government in the fields of public and private sector administration. The Austrian economy is strongly influenced by the budget policy, which is closely linked to fiscal policy. However, it is almost exclusively is bound by legal and contractual commitments and there is little margin for focusing on particular policy measures. For some important areas (e.g. construction, road construction, railway construction) separate companies have been set up on the basis of legal regulations to take on the financing and implementation of building measures.
The Federal Budget Act of 1986 contains the legal principles governing the preparation and execution of the federal budget. The Federal Ministry of Finance is endowed with special competencies of co-ordination.
The budget guidelines laid down by the Ministry of Finance constitute the starting point for the preparation of the federal budget. These guidelines provide the basic figures (expenditure, income and balance of accounts) to which the individual Federal Ministries should adhere. Under these guidelines, the various ministers formulate the financial requirements for their department and the Federal Minister of Finance prepares the draft for the Federal Finance Act. This act is approved by the federal government and submitted to the Nationalrat in the form of a government bill not later than 10 weeks before the end of the financial year, which corresponds to the calendar year. After deliberation in the budget committee, the federal budget is passed by the plenary of the Nationalrat.
The principles of thrift, utility and economic efficiency have to be taken into consideration in preparing and executing the budget. Compliance with these principles with regard to the preparation of the budget is controlled by the Nationalrat when the budget is passed. A subsidiary organ, the Court of Audit, supervises and audits the execution of the federal budget.
Literature: F. Rödler, Bundeshaushaltsrecht, 1992.