Appropriation Law and Legal Definition

An appropriation is a legislative act authorizing the expenditure of a designated amount of public funds for a specific purpose. It may also be used synonymously with annexation to refer to the unification or merging by incorporation of something, such as land. The federal Government Accountability Office (GAO) publishes the Principles of Federal Appropriations Law, which includes a discussion of the statutes and regulations governing appropriations matters as well as references to significant issues rendered by the Comptroller General and the courts.

Some states, in an attempt to assure adequate funding, require that no general appropriation law or other law appropriating money for any state purpose shall be enacted if the appropriation contained therein, together with all prior appropriations made for the same fiscal period, exceeds the total amount of revenue on hand and anticipated which will be available to meet such appropriations during such fiscal period.