In Italy the debate on procedures related to the State budget is recurrent and tends to focus on the legislation stage. There is a widespread dissatisfaction on the way the budget is discussed and approved by Parliament. We argue that the entire procedure, including the stages of preparation, legislation and execution, should be reconsidered. The budget process in Italy suffers mainly from excessive fragmentation at the preparation stage, where a bottom-up approach is followed. Conversely, the execution stage is characterized by an excess of centralization. Lack of transparency is a direct consequence of this state of affairs. We advocate a reform that involves following a top-down approach in the preparation stage, changing the rules of examining and approving the budget in the legislation stage, restructuring the executive budget office in the implementation stage.