1. Choose a current policy challenge in public budgeting. Pick a topic that concerns budgeting issues at the national, state, or local level. You may write about a budgeting challenge that we addressed in class, but be warned: your memo should go beyond the class discussion for that topic. If you are not sure whether your topic is appropriate, feel free to run it by me via email or during office hours.
2. Explain the budgeting challenge and why it is important. Provide at least some background on the issue to help the reader (me) follow your argument. Make the case that this issue is important enough to warrant some action, even with all the other fiscal problems currently out there.
3. Provide concrete advice to a senior policymaker on how to meet this challenge. Address your memo to a specific senior policymaker in a government organization. Provide 2-3 policy options for meeting the challenge your memo describes, and make the case for your one preferred option. Only propose options that are feasible or reasonable (i.e., dont suggest entirely eliminating Social Security or doubling the federal income tax).
I am looking for your own critical analysis of the policy issue, but using arguments and theories of other scholars is a useful starting point. Make sure that you clearly take a position on the best response to this policy issue. On the other hand, you must do more than just provide your opinion! Use facts and findings to support your analysis and conclusions. Spend time thinking about how best to organize your paper. Write clearly and concisely and make sure you proofread. Make sure you are clear in your analysis and policy recommendation.
The policy memo should be 3-5 pages of double-spaced text (not including the bibliography), using a standard 12-point font and 1-inch margins. You can use whatever citation style you prefer, but you must cite your sources.