Magazine article Government Finance Review

Best of Breed Examples

Magazine article Government Finance Review

Best of Breed Examples

Article excerpt

Best of Breed Examples Guidelines for Your Government Budget By Michael E. Bailey Preparing High Quality Budget Documents John Fishbein Government Finance Officers Association 2006, 270 pp $45, GFOA members $70, nonmembers

The GFOA's recently released publication Preparing High Quality Budget Documents builds on a strong tradition of exemplary practices in governmental budgeting. Filled from beginning to end with real-life examples of the best of governmental budgeting, this comprehensive text by John Fishbein should be added to every budget practitioner's reference library as an authoritative source of best practices.

In 1984, the GFOA established its Distinguished Budget Presentation Awards Program to encourage governments to prepare budget documents of the highest quality to meet the needs of decision makers and citizens. The budget awards program establishes criteria to help the government finance officer craft a budget document that is effective as a policy document, an operations guide, a financial plan, and a communication device. This book provides explanations and numerous examples of the program's criteria. The illustrations, taken from exemplary budgets submitted to the program, highlight specific lessons to be learned, as well as common errors to be avoided. The examples selected represent a broad cross section of state and local governments of all types and sizes from both the United States and Canada.

The budget awards program has been revised in the last few years since a previous GFOA publication Budget Awards Program: Illustrations and Examples of Program Criteria, published in 1999, which was also based on examples from the budget awards program. Some criteria are new and other criteria have changed. This is the first authoritative guidance on the revised program criteria. In the relative short time between the two publications, the improvement in the quality of the examples is evident.

Many participants in GFOA's budget awards program have a common question: "where can I see good examples reflecting the program's criteria." This book provides the best answer. Each example is accompanied with notes that highlight the specific quality being illustrated.

Another key feature of this book is the common references to the principles of the National Advisory Council for State and Local Budgeting (NACSLB). …

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