The bass fishing blog Big Indiana Bass has an excellent article Catching Bass - The $100 Challenge. The article is a road map to getting a beginner outfitted for bass fishing for $100. And the truth is you really don't have to spend that much as you could easily forgo some of the stuff and still be pretty well equipped.
If someone out there is a beginner that wants to get into bass fishing, I highly recommend that you seek out an experienced bass fisherman in your local area who would be willing to steer you in the right direction. A great way to find somebody like that would be to find a fishing message board or two or three that is popular with anglers in your local area. Not all fishing message boards are equal, but a good message board is a fantastic resource that should not be overlooked.
One board that I would recommend a bass fishing beginner take a look at is The Bassholes.com, which has one board dedicated to Bassin for Beginners. You may or may not be able to connect up with someone local through The Bassholes.com because it more national than regional or local in scope.