Widespread protests in response to civilian deaths at the hands of police have put pressure on local governments to make lasting reforms to police and public safety budgets. GFOA and Results for America have just released a new research report, Time for Change: A Practical Approach to Rethinking Police Budgeting, to help local governments find a way forward on decisions about police funding.
In the wake of the wave of tragedies involving the murders of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade and so many more, there has been public outrage, nationwide protests and calls for reform of policing and public safety. As a nation we’ve been down the road of public anger and good intentions before and often seen little real change. It is the job of local governments to translate these calls for reform into practical changes that will actually result in a more equitable community.
Fortunately, this new report helps to do just that. The report from the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) provides some great ideas for public safety budget reform.
"The traditional budgeting process will not be up to the task of dealing with the community’s demands for public safety reforms and a local government’s revenue shortfalls. With GFOA's Financial Foundations Framework, we can explore new rules for budgeting that differ from the traditional budget process’s norms. These rules are better suited to the problems local governments are dealing with."
The report offers seven unique rules for budgeting that are better suited to the problems local governments are dealing with. The report also provides a set of questions that finance officers can use to start the discussion in your own community.
We also encourage you to watch a recording of these relevant Promising Practices webinars.
Engaging the Public to Create an Equitable Budget
Presenters discussed practical steps for engaging the community in the budgeting process to ensure that any cuts are both equitable and in-line with resident priorities.
Addressing Historic Inequities through Police Reform
Presenters spoke about recent reforms police departments have been implementing to address equity and improve public safety and build trust.