Writer Liz Farmer recently explained how this type of budgeting has helped the City of Baltimore. Before Baltimore, however, many state governments adopted performance-based budgeting (PBB) schemes to address long-term planning.
The fly in the ointment when it comes to this kind of reform are the words “long term.” Baltimore, for example, lays out budgets further in advance than many other cities. These budgets are based on their government’s performance goals.
But budgeting in advance may not work for politicians who want credit for budget goodies while they are still in office. If a long-term economic plan for a city or state means that the glory days might come years after the politician leaves office, he or she may not be on board.
Thirty-one states have some kind of legislative understanding of this process. They have looked at the idea of long-term budgets and put it on paper. Sixteen other states practice this without a legislative mandate. And three make no real policy mention of adding performance results to how they budget.
Those three states are Arkansas, Massachusetts, and New York. New York State does a lot of things right, and despite recent trouble in Albany, we have a professional legislature.
But the idea of attaching policy results to budgeting might be good for our state and city. Money for projects might be better spent if it is attached to the results those projects are supposed to achieve.
City services have gotten dramatically better in the last 30 years, but there is always room to reexamine how we operate. Could we attach funding for child welfare, education, and crime prevention to performance goals?
It may not work in a city as large as ours, but it could be a way to take some of the politics out of budgeting and make the process more about results.
Some Follow Up...
There have been some local politicians who have voiced concern about the proposed QueensWay park that is proposed to run adjacent to the backyards of citizens on 98th Street in Woodhaven.
Assemblyman Mike Miller has expressed caution in the way that Friends of the Queensway and other supporters have presented this project to the community. Councilman Eric Ulrich has also expressed concern.
This kind of activity is what we want from elected officials. A fair and open public comment forum needs to exist before projects like this are finalized.
The Yellow Dogs
The government of Iran and the people of Iran are not always on the same page, as evidenced by the country’s highly protested election results in 2009.
The two members of the rock band The Yellow Dogs who were tragically shot last week were part of something bigger than music. In telling interviewers that they had no political agenda and just wanted to play music, they illustrated a connection to western culture that is mirrored a great deal in modern Iran.
The strict attachment to tradition in Iran is not something that is about to go away, but Iran is a very young country if you look at the average age of its citizens). The relationship between Americans and Iranians should be looked on as different from political concerns.
Iranian people can dislike American foreign policy and still like America, and The Yellow Dogs were evidence of this. And we can question the fairness of Iranian laws and its theocracy, while still liking Iranians.
While the triune concerns of Israel, Iran, and the U.S. are more complex when weapons are involved, culturally, there are some reasons for optimism.