Today, BGR releases A Look Back to Plan Ahead: Analyzing Past New Orleans Budgets to Guide Funding Priorities. The report reviews the City’s General Fund budgets from 2010 to 2019, focusing on growth in revenues and changes in expenditures. As the City prepares its 2020 budget, the report helps policymakers and citizens gain a better understanding of current funding priorities. It also lays a foundation for examining potential opportunities to reallocate revenue to critical needs. This is particularly important as the City seeks funding for necessary improvements to drainage, streets and various public services.
The report’s findings on General Fund revenues and expenditures point to a number of ways in which the City can make better use of its existing resources. These include developing a long-term financial plan that includes a funding strategy to address high-priority needs and conducting a comprehensive review of the budget for opportunities to cut costs or slow their growth. In pursuing future revenue sources, the City should carefully evaluate and justify any proposal for new taxes, renewals or roll-forward of property tax rates. Finally, BGR calls on the City to eliminate or reduce its reliance on one-time revenue to pay for recurring expenses, and focus one-time revenue instead on capital projects or rebuilding its General Fund reserves to a healthier level.