Emphasizing that budgetary decisions are based on political judgments, this is the most engaging budgeting text on the market.
In budgetary politics, the true bottom line is a political judgment about political issues and outcomes. Making complex topics accessible and relevant, this book lays out the purposes and processes of budgeting in a democracy and identifies up-to-date problems and directions of change. Changes in budgeting often are political responses to political problems. All parts of the public sector face key challenges but change is difficult because high stakes and vested interests are threatened. Unfunded promises set the stage for political conflict and spending growth outstrips revenue policy in many public organizations. Some budget problems are cyclical; others are structural. Overly complex decision-making processes and systems of service delivery that citizens and taxpayers cannot understand thwart transparency and damage accountability. So does many political leaders’ preference for dodging the hard choices. The values of accountability and transparency in a democracy require public leaders to tell the public what they are doing and why, and for citizens to take an interest in budgetary politics. Organized around key questions about core issues, written in a conversational style, using many illustrations, applications, and cases, and with technical and advanced material on a supporting website, this book offers an engaging introduction to the path ahead.