Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Participatory Budgeting: More Resources!

Catching up with notes from the Facebook participatory budgeting group:

Beyond Elections: a documentary by Silvia Leindecker and Michael Fox that asks a very simple question: What is democracy? Chapter 1 is all about participatory budgeting:

Open Budget Iowa: Iowa House Democratic Caucus takes a swing at getting some citizen input on the state budget. Pretty straightforward blog, no apparent effort to compile, summarize, or synthesize the citizen input, just posts with long comment lists. New content appears to dwindle; nothing new posted by organizers since end of January. Plus, as I look at the comments, I see lots of citizens dropping suggestions in the box, but not a lot of response from or interaction with legislators.

The UK Participatory Budgeting Unit has its own YouTube channel! See what those clever Brits are up to!

Tiago Peixoto at ConnectedRepublic.org reviews some state-level quasi-PB initiatives in New York, Arizona, Virginia, Nevada, and Minnesota.

Mayor Nutter of Philadelphia has put up a municipal budget cite to inform citizens and solicit their input in the run-up to his presentation of the city budget in mid-March. The site includes various supporting documents and news stories. Four public fora in February around the city drew 1700 participants. But too many PDFs! The project is supported by U Penn's Penn Project for Civic Engagement.

Open Budget Index: The Open Budget Initiative focuses on budget transparency. They studied 85 countries and found that 80% of those governments fail to give their citizens enough information to effectively monitor their governments' budgets. The U.S. does at least rank fifth, behind the U.K., South Africa, France, and New Zealand. Brazil, the home of PB, ranks eighth (remember, this is federal level, not municipal, where PB is happening).


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