Local governments have long relied on incremental line-item budgeting, in which last year’s budget becomes next year’s with changes around the margins. In a world defined by uncertainty, this form of budgeting puts local governments at a disadvantage, hampering their ability to adapt to changing circumstances. As we all know so well, the ability to adapt has become essential over the last two years—and will certainly remain so for some time. The premise of the Rethinking Budgeting initiative is that the public finance profession has an opportunity to update local government budgeting practices with new ways of thinking and new technologies to help communities better meet changing needs and circumstances. The Rethinking Budgeting initiative seeks out and shares unconventional but promising methods for local governments to improve how they budget, and how they embrace the defining issues of our time.
- Publication date: April 2022