The COVID-19 pandemic will have far-reaching impacts on our taxpayer-funded budgets. With reduced travel, tourism, shopping, and levels of discretionary spending, the amount of tax revenue will drop precipitously.
Drastically reduced tax revenue will affect city, county, and state budgets throughout 2020 and beyond. Now, more than ever, decision makers overseeing taxpayer-funded budgets must discover new methods and technologies to optimize spending for the public good.
How Will Government Budgets Be Affected by COVID-19?
Based on projected levels of tax revenue, U.S. city and county budgets will almost certainly be cut. The impacts on public life will cascade like dominos.
The first impacted items will be layoffs and furloughs. Afterward, personnel expenses, namely employee salaries and benefits, will likely be reduced—this line item accounts for 70% to 85% of a government budget and must be addressed by elected officials as economic challenges worsen.
Depending on the municipality, public safety budgets can account for approximately 60% to 80% of a city government’s budget. With substantially reduced tax income, U.S. city governments will have to make some tough decisions and budget cuts in 2020. Governments will have to prioritize and work with limited resources to minimize the dramatic effects to public safety.
Governments Need New Ways of Doing Business
The effects of reduced tax revenue will be felt across all sectors—ranging from public-facing services to community initiatives. Leaders must recognize that they will need new ways of conducting business to adapt to tighter budgetary constraints.
Decision makers must address and implement efficiency standards based on research and careful thought—and these standards must also be compliant and legal. Fortunately, there are many technology solutions to improve the efficiency of law enforcement departments, preserve the safety of the community, and minimize costs and expenses within the government budget. For instance, technology solutions such as Evertel help leaders communicate on secure online platforms to stay informed and updated on all changes affecting their communities and to respond appropriately to issues that arise.
As residents deal with the challenges of unemployment, stay-at-home mandates, and threats of increased criminal activity, government and law enforcement officials must learn to do more with less. Although government officials have heard this call for improved efficiency many times before, it is crucial now more than ever that they respond appropriately—whether that means maintaining recent extreme reductions or drafting innovative, technology-based solutions to respond to the economic crisis.
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Technology Provides Innovative Solutions
To address community challenges and law enforcement needs in the face of budgetary restrictions, decision makers can implement proven efficient solutions for sharing crime intelligence and strengthening regional collaboration.
The regional approach is especially helpful under current circumstances; connecting all regional public safety jurisdictions is a cost-effective method for keeping multiple communities safe during this time of distress.
Proactive leaders must constantly learn from examples of success—both domestic and abroad—and collaborate with one another to stay informed, draft effective policies, and implement new technologies. In an era where information is readily available, community leaders must address concerns before they devolve into a full-blown crisis.