ICMA Publications / Print / A Budgeting Guide for Local Government

A Budgeting Guide for Local Government, 3rd Edition

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              • Improve analytical capabilities to create desired outcomes
              • Transform the budgeting process to focus on results-based spending
              • Reshape organizational policies and procedures
              • Introduce new management strategies and practices
              • Be ready for major changes coming over the next two decades

A Budgeting Guide for Local Government, 3rd Edition,
 explores the constantly changing world of budgeting in local government. Written with managers, budget directors, and students of the profession in mind, Professor Bob Bland offers a forward-looking, strategic examination of the whys and hows of local government budgeting and breaks new ground by delving more deeply into different approaches to improving local budgeting.

In this third edition, Bland examines the disconnect created by the level of service that executives, legislators, and citizens expect to receive; the level of service that managers and council members assume to be achievable; and actual performance. He underscores the point that with a better understanding of the linkages between budget inputs and outcomes, managers can make budget choices that promote equity and strengthen the long-term economic viability of the community and thereby serve the needs of their constituents more effectively.

This new edition of the Budgeting Guide also addresses the issue of revenue, without which budgeting would not be possible. By integrating portions of his 2005 A Revenue Guide for Local Government, Bland scrutinizes such revenue options as sales and excise taxes, impact charges, and fees for service. He describes the responsibility that local decision makers have to carefully weigh and understand the implications of each revenue source, and he explains how flawed implementation can produce undesirable results.

Of all the tools available to the manager to reshape an organization’s policies and procedures, the budget offers the most accessible and efficient venue for innovation.

Learn about:

  • The meaning of a balanced budget
  • The tax equity implications of a revenue structure based on the ability-to-pay principle versus the benefits-received principle
  • Which tax revenues are more likely to be budget neutral
  • The impact of piggybacking tax collections
  • The justification for exempting nonprofits from paying local property taxes
  • The equity issues involved in including Internet sales in the general sales tax base
  • When tax incentives to businesses are justified
  • How budgeting in the public sector differs from budgeting in business
  • Organizing the budget office, involving stakeholders in budget deliberations, integrating performance measures into budget deliberations, and involving the governing board in the budget process
  • Moderating conflict during budget preparation, adoption, and implementation.

About the Author

Robert L. Bland is professor of public administration at the University of North Texas, where he has been on the faculty since 1982 and teaches graduate courses in public finance, governmental accounting, and budgeting. He is the author of the second edition ofA Revenue Guide for Local Government and of the second edition of A Budgeting Guide for Local Government, both ICMA books, and has written several articles on the municipal bond market, property taxation, and municipal budgeting. In 2007 he was the first recipient of the Terrell Blodgett Academician Award presented by the Texas City Management Association; that same year he also received ICMA’s Stephen B. Sweeney Academic Award. In 2012 Professor Bland was elected as a fellow in the National Academy of Public Administration.

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