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In an effort to bridge the gap between budget theorists and practitioners, this book approaches local government budgeting as the internal resource allocation process of a highly differentiated organization that operates in a very political environment, and whose boundaries are particularly permeable during the formal budget process. Written by academics with extensive practical experience in local government budgeting and finance, this text will be equally useful to practitioners, scholars and students. Theory building in public budgeting has been dominated by political science and economics, and these approaches have not produced theories that can serve as guides to action for practitioners or help them understand their action environments. In order to produce theory that has meaning for practitioners, researchers should approach the subject as it is experienced by practitioners. The long-term financial health of local governments requires an integrated approach to public budgeting. This book develops theory that illuminates practice. It recognizes that the budget process is the only organization-wide process that integrates all of the agencies that comprise the government, and thus, the budget must address the long-term consequences of any action. The budget process itself is presented as a vehicle to develop the decision premises and organizational values that will support allocative efficiency and productivity.
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