What is Participatory Budgeting?
Participatory Budgeting (PB) is a democratic process where community members decide how to spend part of a public budget. PB gives communities real power over real money.
PB started in Porto Alegre, Brazil as an anti-poverty measure, and has since spread to over 7,000 cities around the world. PB has been used to spend state, county, and city budgets, as well as those of schools, housing authorities, and other public institutions.
The People’s Money is the first citywide Mayoral participatory budgeting (PB) process in New York City.
The NYCCEC was created by a citywide referendum in November 2018, after one million New Yorkers voted, resulting in the approval of three ballot initiatives proposed by the 2018 Charter Revision Commission, including a mandate for the CEC to implement citywide Participatory Budgeting. Starting in September 2022, the NYCCEC will be launching NYC’s first-ever expense-based, citywide participatory budgeting process called The People’s Money.
All New Yorkers, regardless of citizenship, status, will have a say in how to spend $5 million of mayoral expense funding to address local community needs. All residents are invited to participate in the first phase of the process, idea generation, and all residents aged 11 and older will be eligible to vote. The People’s Money builds on the foundation laid by the Civic Engagement Commission’s 2021 local process, which engaged residents of the 33 neighborhoods hardest hit by COVID-19 in a $1.3 million participatory budgeting process.
Participatory budgeting came to NYC in 2011 as a City Council process. It started with four Council Members and quickly expanded to over 30. PBNYC, as it was called, engaged residents whose council members chose to participate in PB and had been limited to public decision-making mostly around capital funds. The process resulted in a cumulative total of over $200 million being spent on projects voted on by residents.
The People’s Money, with funding from the Mayor’s office, will go exclusively to expense projects, programs and services that directly help residents in their day to day lives.