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Program Flexibility and Budget Growth: The Case of the California Community Colleges

Dan A. Cothran
The Western Political Quarterly
Vol. 34, No. 4 (Dec., 1981), pp. 593-610
DOI: 10.2307/447471
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/447471
Page Count: 18
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Program Flexibility and Budget Growth: The Case of the California Community Colleges
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Abstract

From 1973 to 1975, California state expenditures for community colleges grew at a rate considerably faster than would be predicted by an incrementalist theory of budgeting. Moreover, policy-makers neither intended nor welcomed such rapidly rising expenditures for this program. This study examines the experience of the California Community Colleges and concludes that the recent budget explosion resulted from the interaction of the method of funding with certain characteristics of the program. Using evidence from this and other case studies of program growth, it argues that automatic funding is most likely to produce rapid and unexpected program growth where certain other factors are also present. Foremost among these are loose definitions of eligibility, attractive incentives for program growth, expansion of clientele or functions, and an active attempt by the agency to market its services.

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