People Over Profits!

By India Walton

It’s a phrase we’ve often heard, but an action that’s not been implemented in Buffalo. The need for that change is overdue. 

Budgets are moral documents. As usual, Mayor Byron Brown has lacked transparency and failed to engage the community for input on the 2021-2022 recommended budget. Buffalo has failed to receive the Government Finance Officers Association’s (GFOA) distinguished budget award, a recognition commonly earned by many municipalities around the country. Not only has the city of Buffalo not met this standard for transparency, we are far from eligible for it. 

So while the current administration continues to line the pockets of developers, the people who keep this city moving suffer from both a lack of resources and a lack of input. 

Our platform is for the people and by the people. As your mayor, I will move us not only toward GFOA transparency standards, but also to participatory budgeting. 

Unlike the current process, participatory budgeting is democratic and gives people real influence over how the public budget is spent. It means allocating a portion of funding for the community to decide, and vote on, real solutions that reflect their needs. This kind of community empowerment deepens our democracy and reinforces our belief that equity and justice are crucial components to a stronger community. 

The time of waiting for our current administration to address the issues that bring down our people is over. The people closest to the problems are the ones who have the solutions needed to enrich their lives. The time has come to build a better Buffalo for all people. 

The heart of this city is made up of human chambers; the workers, the mothers, the frontline workers – these folks keep the blood of Buffalo pumping. For too long, they’ve been pushed to the backburner, while the rich get richer. Trickle down policies don’t work for the working class. When I am elected as your mayor, I will invest resources in the basic needs of the most vulnerable communities.

We demand transparency and inclusion. My vision for The People’s Budget will increase public engagement. Together, we will outline the priorities of this city, we will determine where our money is spent, and we will see our just due. 

The time to take back what is ours, and to reclaim our city is here. It is time we see a real Buffalo renaissance for everyone. 

Born and raised on Buffalo’s East Side, Buffalo mayoral candidate India Walton became a full-time working mother at the age of just 14, went on to become a registered nurse in both the NICU and the public school system, and most recently founded and led the Fruit Belt Community Land Trust to develop affordable housing. Learn more at,, Twitter at @indiawaltonbflo and Instagram at @indiawaltonforbuffalo.