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Budgeting for Equity

Disparities exist in every community. Government leaders and staff are in the position to use data and evidence to determine what they are and how to reduce them. Applying an equity lens to PBB data, one of the most surprising realizations is that each and every program offered has an opportunity to be transformed, reimagined, and evolved to increase equity.

The true definition of local government success is the ability to deliver programs and services equitably and fairly to every citizen in the community. By establishing a clear equity mission and goals, adjusting existing programs and starting new programs to meet equity goals, and solidifying funding for these equity-focused programs within the budget, local governments will enter a new era of citizen-focused governance with an equity focus. 

equity image for outcomes page
Budgeting for Equity

Additional Resources

From Chris Fabian
Things are Far from Perfect, So Why Try?

A community gives its resources to a local government, and in turn, entrusts that local government organization to invest those resources equitably towards a more prosperous future for all.

From Strategic Steps
Budgeting for an Equitable Future

Local governments can have a lasting and significant impact on equity creation for all residents of their communities. The budget is one of the most powerful tools for influencing change.

From Government Finance Research Center
Budgeting with an Equity Lens

By establishing a clear equity mission and goals, adjusting existing programs and starting new programs to meet equity goals, and solidifying funding for these equity-focused programs within the budget, local governments will enter a new era of citizen-focused governance with an equity focus.

 

City and County of Denver, Colorado

In 2018, the City of Denver initiated a program budgeting initiative with a focus on enhancing equity in the city. By focusing service analysis at the program level, and performing a program insight exercise to evaluate equity opportunities, the city identified common and surprising solutions. These include program-level equity opportunities within snowplowing, impound lot and court services.

Read Chris Fabian's Budgeting with an Equity Lens on the Government Research Center.

Solution (1)
Coloado Snow-1
Coloado Snow-1

Highlights from Denver

Local governments have the potential to make a substantial and lasting impact in creating equity for all the people in their communities. One of the most powerful levers for change is the budget. Applying an equity lens, one of the most surprising realizations is that each and every program offered has an opportunity to be transformed, reimagined, and evolved to increase equity.

  • Convert to Programs

    The city first translated its line items to programs to better understand the services the city delivers and the cost of delivering them.

  • Add Data Layers

    They then layered on additional data points of the population served, degree of mandate, demand, reliance on the city and equity impact.

  • Clearly Define Equity

    The foundation for their success was their clarity of purpose and their attachment to what equity means to their organization and community.

  • Repurpose the Resources

    Repurposing the resources a local government already collects and prioritizing them towards ends goals like equity is an approach championed by organizations.


City of Austin, Texas

The City of Austin has long been a leader in enhancing equity. In 2021, the city participated in the City Budgeting for Equity and Recovery (CBER) program. The city was specifically focused on identifying equity opportunities within their Arts & Culture Division. Through a Program Insight exercise, they identified multiple low complexity, short-term implementation opportunities to enhance equity within arts and culture.

Read the ResourceX blog post Budgeting for an Equitable Future.

City of Austin Equity
Austin Insights 1
Austing Insight 2

City of Pueblo, Colorado

Pueblo Infographic-1
Insight Baseball Cards (Pueblo Transit)
procurement in pueblo

Like most cities across the country, the City of Pueblo was significantly impacted by COVID from an equity and fiscal sustainability perspective. They set goals of creating a clear definition of Equity for their community, incorporating that definition into their budgeting process, and repurposing resources to fund ideas for improving equity. ResourceX supported the city to develop a program-based budget helped to establish a definition of Equity, created evaluation categories and metrics to measure their programs against, and facilitated three Insight Workshops to capture ideas and outcomes the city wants to achieve at the program level.

Pueblo developed a program-based budget across all participating departments. The city has 21 community-focused departments participating in their Budgeting for Equity initiative. Overall, the city developed a full program-level data set consisting of 522 individual programs. After three ResourceX facilitated Insight Workshops, the city has 114 program Insights including 40 specifically identified to enhance equity. 

Highlights from Pueblo

Local governments have the potential to make a substantial and lasting impact in creating equity for all the people in their communities. One of the most powerful levers for change is the budget. Applying an equity lens, one of the most surprising realizations is that each and every program offered has an opportunity to be transformed, reimagined, and evolved to increase equity.

  • Convert to Programs

    The city first translated its line items to programs to better understand the services the city delivers and the cost of delivering them.

  • Add Data Layers

    They then layered on additional data points of the population served, degree of mandate, demand, reliance on the city and equity impact.

  • Clearly Define Equity

    The foundation for their success was their clarity of purpose and their attachment to what equity means to their organization and community.

  • Repurpose the Resources

    Repurposing the resources a local government already collects and prioritizing them towards ends goals like equity is an approach championed by organizations.

Learn more about program outcome budgeting

"Local governments have the potential to make a substantial and lasting impact in their communities. One of the most powerful levers for change is the budget." - Chris Fabian, Co-founder and CEO, ResourceX