From the Daily News:
It would be the third largest state budget in the country. $68.7 billion. Only it’s not a state budget — it’s New York City’s. And it’s your money. But you would need a Ph.D. in cryptology to figure out how it’s being spent.
At a time when every tax dollar is precious and middle-class families across our city are struggling to make ends meet, New York has a responsibility to make the budget process transparent and equitable. Unfortunately, this is impossible with the spending blueprint that will be debated between now and June 30.
Our budget is a byzantine maze that, among other unique features, gives local elected officials wide discretion to dole out tax dollars to worthwhile groups like Little Leagues, senior centers and other nonprofits through grants known as member items — but with little public participation.
We desperately need to open up the process, so that New Yorkers can play a more direct role in the allocation of these resources.
Just when you think he is headed in the right direction, he goes down this path:
We are establishing independent panels (made up of policy experts, community board members and City Council representatives) that will make recommendations on the distribution of these resources.
You think that policy experts, community board members and City Council representatives will make this process more democratic?
Are you shitting me? These are all people beholden to the Mayor and City Council for their positions. How about getting rid of ice cream money like they have on the state and federal levels? This would make the process - as well as our elections and community board participation - highly democratic!