Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts




Virginia, like the other states in our union, was without any set form of budget during its first century of existence. This was partly because there was no definite need for any governmental reform in this area until the twentieth century brought about an expansion of the powers and responsibilities of governments. The states relied on the general property tax for the bulk of their revenue and its return was relatively certain and constant. It enabled a legislature to accurately judge its yield and match this yield to what was needed by an easy adaptation of the rate of taxation. Since the general property tax was so easy to deal with, the need for a budget or dependence upon the financial officers of the state was not felt. In fact the very idea of taking the appropriation decision from the legislature was frowned upon. The revolution had left a distrust of the executive in all things relating to financial matters.