Thanks to the Lincoln Land Institute for the great article on Visual Budget

landlinesThe Lincoln Institute of Land Policy included the story of Visual Budget in the October 2015 issue of Land Lines.

“To be fiscally strong, local governments have to be in a dialogue with residents,” says Lourdes Germán, an expert on municipal fiscal health and a fellow at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. “Residents have to know what key decisions are facing town officials, what those decisions mean financially, and how tax dollars are being used. All sorts of important things are up for a vote by the residents at town meetings, and often that meeting is the first time people hear about the issues, which is too late.”

“The Arlington Visual Budget has data going back to 2008 and projections out to 2021, so citizens can really understand how the budget has changed and how that impacts them,” says Adam Langley, senior research analyst at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. “Taxpayers can see that state aid for general governments was cut in half from 2009 to 2010, and that it hasn’t recovered at all since then. Because of that cut, the share of Arlington’s budget funded by state aid has fallen, while the share covered by property taxes has grown from 70 percent to 76 percent. The impact of government decisions on household budgets becomes clearer.”

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