As we’ve noted when advocating for more direct federal funding for states and cities, budgets really matter. They are moral documents that outline our priorities. And how you cut budgets in tough times matters. At this point, some budget cuts appear inevitable in most places.
As officials begin the process of trimming their budgets, reducing services, and furloughing employees, they must do so with the careful application of a racial equity lens or they may only worsen the inequities that this pandemic has laid bare.
Some key questions to ask when making equitable decisions are: Who benefits? Who is burdened? Who is missing? How do we know?
Everyone benefits from a more just, equitable system. Racial equity develops outcomes that will result in improvements for all groups, although the strategies may be targeted based on the needs of a particular group. The bottom line is that budget cuts will only be fair if equity is prioritized and actively applied in the decision-making process.
We are seeing firsthand through COVID-19 how underlying inequities have devastating consequences. As a society, we need to keep our eyes open to those inequities going forward, and we can do that by calling out for policymakers to advance equitable budget decisions that close the gaps between us rather than widening them.
Check out our full post on viewing budgets through an equity lens here.
Stay safe and stay connected.
Founder and President