Every participatory budgeting has complaints. Some are softer than others. Some are more rational others more passionate.
But, you must be ready for all and learn how to avoid them. Or least have a good counter argument.
Yes, some are your own fault! Simple: don’t let them happen.
This list is based on “Participatory Budgeting: Arguments Pro and Con” by Tim Bonnemann, Founder and CEO of Intellitics, Inc., a digital engagement startup based in San José, CA. I’ve added a few others based on our experience.
Learn them by heart.
They will appear as a natural result of valid concerns from citizens and politicians.
Don’t avoid them, but be prepared. You will build a stronger participatory budgeting process.
Your anticipation will help build a more transparent and trust worthful process.
- That’s the elected official’s job
- Not enough % of budget allocated
- There’s no money
- They are taking money out of investment to play around
- They don’t know what to do with the money
- The process will be co-opted
- The overhead costs for doing participatory budgeting are too high
- It’s not an equitable or fair process
- Someone will change the vote as befit them
- There is no way to control who votes in a secure way. So there will be someone to cheat the system
- It’s already being done
- They only listen to those they want
- They listen to people that don’t contribute to society as much as I do
- It’s not the government’s job to pay for these types of improvements
- It’s a way to decrease public investment
- Participatory budgeting is a means to achieve voter buy-in for tax increases
- Participatory budgeting is a means to buy people’s vote for next election
- Voter turn-out is too low
- Our citizens don’t want to get involved in the way you planned your participatory budgeting
- The ideas are always the same
- The ideas are always of low impact and most are stupid (?! … yes, I’ve heard this one myself)
- The process gives people a false sense of hope
- The participatory budgeting process is inefficient
- The participatory budgeting process is a way to finance some public servants and their friends
- Participatory budgeting doesn’t cover real needs