Committee For A Better New Orleans Releases The People’s Budget Mid-Year Report
NEW ORLEANS— The Committee for a Better New Orleans announces the results of the Big Easy Budget Game, a data-driven, crowd-sourced interactive website that residents can use to balance the city budget with their own spending priorities. Over 330 residents participated to date, indicating their desire for more accountable government, better response to issues on a community level like fighting blight and infrastructure improvements, and less funding for traditional reactive public safety like prisons.
Residents made across the board cuts to traditional approaches to public safety, including the New Orleans Police Department and the Sheriff’s Office. Residents did give modest increases, however, to more proactive approaches to public safety, such as rehabilitative programs at the Youth Study Center and funding for the Coroner’s Office, which provides mental health screenings for potentially mentally ill people accused of a crime.
New Orleanians also overwhelmingly supported more investment in departments that increase government accountability, such as the Office of the Independent Police Monitor and the Office of the Inspector General, which saw 500 and 63 percent increases in funding from residents respectively.
In step with the 2016 People’s Budget Report, residents also favored departments that improved government responsiveness to on-the-ground issues such as blight. Safety and Permits received a 29 percent increase in funding, along with other blight-related departments such as the Law Department, City Planning Commission, and the Mayor’s Office.
The Big Easy Budget Game will be open until this fall, when data will be pulled a final time to be compared and contrasted to the proposed budget for 2018. All residents are encouraged to “play Mayor for a day” to tell the city of New Orleans what priorities are important to them in the budget. Data collected by the Big Easy Budget Game is anonymous and open to all.
“How the city spends our taxes and fees is the most important decision it makes, and New Orleans residents must have a meaningful voice in this decision," said CBNO President Keith Twitchell. "The Big Easy Budget Game provides a real opportunity for city leaders to incorporate community priorities and community wisdom into the city budget."
The Committee for a Better New Orleans works to create equity and opportunity for all New Orleanians by developing community leaders, fostering civic engagement, and advocating for open, effective, accountable government.