What are Citizens Budgets?

Citizens Budgets are designed to present key public finance information to a general audience. They are typically written in accessible language and incorporate visual elements to help non-specialist readers understand the information. While Citizens Budget versions of the Executive Budget Proposal and the Enacted Budget are most common, each key document in the budget cycle can and should be presented in a way that the public can understand.

Citizens Budgets can be produced by civil society organizations (CSOs) or other advocacy groups, but should be produced and issued by governments because they serve to institutionalize the government’s commitment to presenting its policies in a manner that is understandable to the public.

Governments should ensure citizens have a firm understanding of the many ways the budget affects their lives. By presenting budget information in a more accessible format than most standard budget documents, Citizens Budgets foster greater understanding of how public money is being managed.

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