"Ballot-box budgeting" is typically used in a critical context.
Troy Senik, writing in City Journal in December 2011:
- "The economic fallout brings the shortcomings of ballot-box policymaking into sharp relief. Time and again, California voters are asked to approve outlays for emotionally resonant issues—mental-health treatment, school improvements, funding children’s hospitals—and time and again, they sign off. But the right to vote on an issue is always untethered from any notion of fiscal responsibility. In most cases, voters aren’t required to find a funding mechanism, whether in the form of spending cuts or tax hikes. They’re simply asked if they’d like to be charitable on someone else’s dime. The result is the unsustainable mix of opposition to tax hikes and enthusiasm for new spending projects that has put the state in its current fiscal morass."