The budget process for the 1997 fiscal year started 6 weeks late, but with U.S. federal elections looming and bad memories from fiscal 1996 lingering, it ended on time. An analysis of appropriations for science agencies and programs funded by the U.S. government reveals that while scientists' fears of massive budget cuts never materialized, overall levels of funding for research remained flat. The tables below show modest increases for many science programs, but most of those increases are offset by inflation, which has averaged about 2–3% per year for the past several years.