Local governments have long relied on incremental, line-item budgeting where last year’s budget becomes next year’s budget with changes around the margin. Though this form of budgeting has its advantages and can be useful in times of stability, it also has important disadvantages.
The primary disadvantage is that it causes local governments to be slow to adapt to changing conditions. We live in volatile and uncertain times.
Rethinking Budgeting is no small matter. Hence, we’ve broken it down into the following subtopics, which we invite you to explore. Note that the Rethinking Budgeting initiative is not finished, so our content will evolve and grow as the initiative moves forward. Currently, you will find the most content under foundational ideas, planning, and special topics.
Did You Know?
Surveys show that people want significant changes made to their political and economic systems. The Rethinking Budgeting Initiative is answering the call. The budget is the most important policy document that local government produces. We believe that local governments have an opportunity to update budgeting practices to take advantage of new ways of thinking, new technologies, and to better meet the changing needs of communities. Rethinking Budgeting is an on-going initiative. We will have more on the topics below as the initiative progresses, but you can see what we have so far below and meet the team that is working on it.
The Rethinking Budgeting initiative is a collaborative effort between the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA), International City/County Management Association (ICMA), and National League of Cities (NLC).
This initiative will raise new and interesting ideas for how local government budget systems can be adapted to today’s needs. We hope the ideas presented will spur conversation about the possibilities for rethinking budgeting.