Public Administration ETDs

Publication Date



Past experience in New Mexico has shown that the traditional agency line-item budget does not serve as a tool for making rational decisions about state government because it does not present the appropriate information needed by the decision-makers. To make rational decisions and policies, the Governor and the Legislature both need to know more about an agency than the cost of salaries and travel. Planning-Programming-Budgeting was introduced in New Mexico in 1969 with the hopes that it would be developed into the tool needed for making rational decisions effecting the state. According to Charles Schultze:

Much has been published on PPB. Learned articles have treated it sometimes as the greatest thing since the invention of the wheel. Other articles attack it, either as a naive attempt to quantify and computerize the imponderable, or an an arrogant effort on the part of latter-day technocrats to usurp the decision making function in a political democracy.

PPB is neither. It is a means of helping responsible officials make decisions. It is not a mechanical substitute for the good judgment, political wisdom and leadership to those officials.

Now to say that wise choices ultimately depends on good judgment is not the same thing as saying that good judgment alone makes for wise choices. Forced to choose among irrelevant alternatives, on the basis of misleading facts, and without the benefit of solid analysis, even the best judgment can do little but grope intuitively in the dark. PPB is a means to improve the decision-making process, in order to assist the final judgment, not to supplant it.

One area in New Mexico that is in desperate need of a decision-making tool is public health. (Public health is defined in this paper as all health programs administered by the state.) This state does not have a comprehensive public health care system. Instead, it has a multitude of uncoordinated health programs in agencies which seldom communicate or cooperate with each other. Because many health programs' budgets arc included as part of a larger agency budget, neither the chief executive nor the Legislature knows (1) how much the state is really spending on health care, (2) who is being served by the program, or (3) whether the programs are being effective.

To provide the answers to these questions, in the fall of 1970, as part of the PPB staff, I was assigned the task of developing a program budget for public health in New Mexico. Because of limited time, the first budget only included the programs of the two largest agencies involved in health care -- Department of Hospitals and Institutions and Health and Social Services Department.

For this thesis, I took the original budget and added the programs of the other state agencies involved in health care to make what I consider a comprehensive program budget for public health. This program budget is the basis of this thesis. To provide a better perspective of public health and program budgeting, the first half of the thesis presents chapters on Public Health (a historical view), Budgeting, Planning-Programming-Budgeting in New Mexico, Public Health in New Mexico, and Budgeting in New Mexico. The last two chapters are devoted to the public health program budget and the future of Planning-Programming-­Budgeting in New Mexico.

Degree Name

Public Administration

Level of Degree


Department Name

School of Public Administration

First Committee Member (Chair)

John Mace Hunger

Second Committee Member

David Richard Jones

Third Committee Member

Albert H. Rosenthal



Document Type