Rethinking Budgeting

City of Arlington Wins Fiscal Fluency Challenge

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This paper explains how Arlington, Texas, won GFOA's Fiscal Fluency Challenge. Arlington created videos to make public finance easy to understand. They used themes like “Build, Unite, Create,” comparing budgeting to a Lego set, and “Budget Bites,” which was styled like a cooking show. These videos used a clear storyline developed through a low-stress brainstorming process with a diverse group of people. This process produced unique themes for each video. By using simple language, minimal jargon, relatable examples, and clear visuals, Arlington improved public understanding and involvement in budget discussions. It also increased transparency and trust in the local government. Arlington’s approach serves as a model for other cities looking to improve their budget communications.

  • Publication date: May 2024
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