A Word to the Wise on Public Budgeting, Finance and Special Populations
By Julie Ann Racino, Member of American Society for Public Administration
October 3, 2017
In the middle of the 2017 election campaigns, which today have new northeast woman Mayors running and winning small to medium size city offices, and new black Mayors, both men and women, in cities in the South and Mid-West such as Houston, Texas (on news, this week; kickoff by Gwen Ifill, now deceased), we will take a minute to examine Public Budgeting and Finance.
The term Special Populations as opposed to general populations, usually refers to sub-population groups, for example in "disability fields" from broad "mental health" populations, to populations with "heart disease" or intellectual and developmental disabilities, or sensory impairments (e.g., visual, hearing, sense of smell). Special populations may also refer to "clients" of a department or program, though that is a misnomer - child abuse and neglect, criminal justice and offenders with disabilities, low income or below poverty thresholds. Why? That's the origin of the "disability term" community integration (federal use) which is based upon assumptions and beliefs, in addition to research related to the General Population.
In areas such as employment and hiring (Human Capital), the term "protected classes" under human rights laws is not currently used, and as many people who never understood affirmative action in the first place, were then a bit taken aback by needing to be colorblind! Why? Well, who writes about protected classes as a chosen or designated job usually, the protected class members (See, composition of EEO, 2016)! Is it still true today after the Obama Presidential election and second term? Yes and no. For example, when there is "still" women in public administration next to minority (male, black) public administration at "public planning", is it surprising that American remains as a segregated and divided society (Carr & Kutty, 2008, Segregation: The rising costs to America)?
Now, I have just examined the last three issues of Public Budgeting and Finance (2017), and already the lead issue authors almost separated into one issue of woman leadership! And as our feminist authors would state, writing not as women (a peculiar thought according to the "other women" who have not had their consciousness raised by "their sisters"), but as "male job peers" in an unjust society. Yet, all striving for "equal pay and benefits" to their gender counterparts discounting the factors of social class and, surprisingly, then merit (from an Ivy!).
In these three issues, however, the themes revolve around public borrowing "for private organizations" and municipalities, public pensions as a liability in the new "public bankruptcies", special district financing, the new role of tax and expenditure limits (e.g., on property taxes), municipal bonds versus new municipal purchases, "subnational debt in Mexico" and "Italian regulation", the role of insurance and underwriting, banking and transportation infrastructure, case study of New York budget process, casino taxes and future revenue expectations, and fracturing, taxes, and the environment. Interesting are the authors, who for example recommended commercial over development banks, and long-term debt management plans (for government to carry high debt) which have also led to bankruptcies.
At the American Society for Public Administration, we now have a new LGBT Section and the standing Women in Public Administration Section (SWPA), and woman Section Chairs and Presidents of the Association. However, disability has been ushered to its Special Population Associations other (there are not only many, but may I say, too many -general population and budget planner) than as part of the general association itself (e.g., ASPA as Non-Voluntary Governance, all federal categories, and as Local and State Governments). That brings us back to the Nothing About Us Without Us (Are you disabled in in 2015 with coalitions of 1970s inclusive of white, non-disabled women with governmental access!! Then, again starts all white, non-coalition men or women can.) as the Association enters domains of international world order, rule of law, decades of worldwide NGO growth (e.g., women, disability, ethnic), and "involuntary care" hidden from the public eyes.
With the growth in health care and health care financing, and "not public" designations of NGOs as health care organizations, the role of communities, advocacy, independent and "supportive living", non-profit human services, and "governance" is changing considerably, especially post-911 (also, at budget and personnel costs). The shifting of US budgets- personal and government- to an extra-ordinary health care cost together with privatization of essential government functions outside the public eye, has raised the importance of these matters to the health, well being and futures of local individuals, families and communities in America (and worldwide).