The White House released more budget guidance in a memo to federal agencies on June 21 that underlined its continued commitment to place-based policies. The news was announced by Derek Douglas on June 30 on the White House Office of Urban Affairs blog. Douglas serves on both the staff of that office and on the Domestic Policy Council staff, where he leads the DPC’s work on urban and metropolitan policy issues.
The memo is similar to one released a year ago and expands on a third memo from the White House Office of Management and Budget released on June 8. Most of the latest memo focuses on the role of place-based policies in economic growth, including the Sustainable Communities Initiative. We haven’t given much attention to those policies because of our focus on neighborhoods, but clearly the administration views them as all fitting together.
As we have noted before, in tight budgetary times the future of place-based programs will be based on reconfiguring existing federal programs. More evidence for that can be found in the following section of the latest memo, which directs agencies to look for programs that don’t work and those that do, presumably in an effort to shift funding around.
Please include the following as a separate section in your FY 2012 budget submission, due to OMB on September 13, 2010:
- Identify the place-based programs or initiatives that you believe show special promise for achieving better outcomes, whether the place-based approach is well-established or newly proposed. In so doing, please give special emphasis to programs that promote economic growth. These policies should be within OMB Guidance (M-10-19) and cost effective. For each, please explain the policy’s measurable outcomes, using empirical evidence to the degree possible. In addition, please provide options for improving the intra- or inter-agency coordination and effectiveness of the proposed policy.
- Identify the existing place-based programs or policies within OMB Guidance (M-10-19) that are not cost effective and that you would propose to reduce, terminate, or significantly restructure due to inefficiencies or ineffectiveness. Please explain why you have reached this determination, using empirical evidence to the degree possible.
This guidance will be discussed in meetings with agencies that OMB and DPC will schedule this summer. Agencies are also encouraged to work with their OMB RMO and their policy council contacts to identify candidate programs. OMB will weigh these questions throughout the process of policy development for the President’s FY 2012 Budget.