The Civic Engagement Commission’s citywide participatory budgeting initiative is at risk due to slow follow through — it needs strong commitment now to right the course, comply with the Charter, and establish a successful legacy program for the Administration.
New York City – A coalition of local advocacy groups released a policy memo today demanding that Mayor DeBlasio commit at least $500 million to be allocated by residents through the citywide participatory budgeting (PB) initiative that was left out of the Mayor’s proposed budget released in January.
Citywide PB is a crucial engagement tool that guarantees every New Yorker can have a voice in local government spending regardless of immigration status, and sets young people up to be civically involved throughout their lives.
In November 2018, New York City voters overwhelmingly approved ballot question #2 to create a groundbreaking Civic Engagement Commission and expand PB citywide. The mandate was clear: New Yorkers demand more meaningful ways of being engaged in budget decisions.
Supporters of the ballot measure were thrilled to see the Civic Engagement Commission launched and Commissioners appointed in April 2019, but eight months later, concerns are increasing with funding not being allocated to the PB process.
“Our research shows that Participatory Budgeting can meaningfully engage diverse community members, including those who are disenfranchised from traditional voting and other forms of civic engagement,” said Erin Markman, Director of Research and Policy, TakeRoot Justice. “An expanded citywide PB process offers an exciting opportunity for New Yorkers to make real decisions about the future of their communities and our city. But it can only work with real resources, which means that sufficient funds must be allocated.”
“In his presidential campaign, Mayor DeBlasio made a bold $1.65 billion commitment to national PB,” said Melissa Appleton, Program Director at Participatory Budgeting Project. “Now is the time for an equally bold Mayoral commitment, to ensure that citywide PB is a successful legacy program, not an unfulfilled promise.”
In the policy memo, the coalition asks Mayor DeBlasio to commit at least $500 million by mid-February including both capital and expense funds for residents to allocate. This commitment would be the largest total PB budget in the world and fulfill the NYC voters’ mandate for a significant PB expansion beyond the current Council process.
The organizations that have signed on to the policy memo include:
- Arts & Democracy
- Civic Hall
- Coro New York Leadership Center
- Girls for Gender Equity
- Next Generation Politics
- New York Civic Engagement Table
- New Yorkers for Parks
- Participatory Budgeting Project
- PBNYC Citywide Steering Committee
- PBNYC District 29 District Committee
- PBNYC District 39 District Committee
- Public Agenda
- TakeRoot Justice
- The Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP)
- Theatre of the Oppressed NYC (TONYC)
- Brad Lander, Council Member District 39
- Asher Novek, Member of CEC PB Advisory Committee
- Benjamin Solotaire, Member of CEC PB Advisory Committee
- Joan Bakiriddin, Member of CEC PB Advisory Committee
- Michael Menser, Member of CEC PB Advisory Committee
- Aaron Jones, Member of the PBNYC Citywide Steering Committee and the CEC PB Advisory Committee
- Caron Atlas, Member of the PBNYC Citywide Steering Committee and the CEC PB Advisory Committee
- Heather Beers-Dimitriadis, Member of the PBNYC Citywide Steering Committee and the CEC PB Advisory Committee
- Melissa Appleton, Member of the PBNYC Citywide Steering Committee and the CEC PB Advisory Committee
- Celina Su, Member of the PBNYC Citywide Steering Committee, the CEC PB Advisory Committee, and the North America PB Research Board
- Benjamin Goldfrank, Member of the North America PB Research Board
- Ron Hayduk, Member of the North America PB Research Board
Read the policy memo.
This post was written by the Participatory Budgeting Project.