The allocation of public resources through a budgeting process is key to advance racial equity. As the public health and economic crises continue, jurisdictions are investing in the increased services needed by the community. We are all learning and adjusting as this pandemic shifts through uncertain times. The crises have also created revenue challenges for jurisdictions. This creates a tenuous situation where community needs are increasing while revenue projections are decreasing. Leaders are working to make difficult decisions, serving their communities and balancing budget challenges.
The development and modification of jurisdiction’s budgets are some of the most important and challenging decisions that department heads, managers, councilmembers make. The public has entrusted government with managing their public funds to serve the public, and our budgets demonstrate how we manage those resources. Because government is in the business of serving, budget decisions are almost always difficult even in stable financial times.
Having tools to help illuminate the equity impacts of budget decisions helps decisionmakers make the most informed decisions possible. Jurisdictions across the United States have been using racial equity budget tools for years to help overcome the racial inequities faced in their communities. Below, you’ll find templates and information on a handful of these tools. There is no reason to recreate the wheel when jurisdictions have been learning and improving their tools for many budget cycles. They can also serve as a starting point for tailored tools to be developed.