Don’t Like John Liu’s No-Toll Proposal? He’s Asking for Budget Suggestions

Last month, mayoral candidate and Comptroller John Liu released a series of proposals to show what his office believes should be included in the city’s final Fiscal Year 2014 budget. It included some bad ideas, such as exempting city residents from East River bridge tolls, and a few good ones, like dramatically increasing the size of NYPD’s Collision Investigation Squad.

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Now, Liu is asking for ideas as part of his “People’s Budget” initiative. The top three winners will get mentioned by Liu in his budget testimony before the City Council on June 5.

“Streetsblog is a pretty thoughtful community,” comptroller policy analyst Doug Giuliano said. While the focus is on big issues that are often ignored during budget season as the mayor and the council tussle over service cuts, Giuliano said the goal is to give citizens more access to the budget process generally. “We’re happy to get everyone’s input and ideas,” he said.

The public is encouraged to solicit and vote up or down ideas at the comptroller’s website, which launched last Tuesday and already has more than 100 suggestions. The comptroller’s office has seeded the initiative with suggestions of its own, some of which come straight from last month’s report:

Ideas suggested by the public include eliminating subway and bus fares for city residents and creating safe streets for walking and bicycling.

Liu’s initiative takes a page from the participatory budgeting playbook, but unlike the process undertaken by a handful of council members, it will not directly result in implementation. Liu’s proposal includes a proposal to expand participatory budgeting, which included a few livable streets proposals this year.

Voting closes on June 2. Liu’s office does not have any specific plans for the budget suggestions other than a mention in the comptroller’s testimony.

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