Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Online tool lets you make the budget decisions

An interesting online tool is making the rounds in Colorado right now.  It's called the "Colorado Backseat Budgeter", and it puts you under the golden dome, making calls on how the state's money should be spent.

Unlike the real budget world, you get the luxury of beginning with a perfectly balanced budget.  However, start exploring how the state spends its money: kindergarten through 12th-grade education, human services, higher education, etc.  You'll see how returning some of these programs to the funding levels they had a few years ago, or bringing them in line with the national average, starts to put the state deep into the red.  Cut or spend where you like, but remember, your final budget has to be balanced.  You might find yourself turning to the revenue side of the equation to fund your priorities.  Start playing with taxes and watch the "Constitutional Warning" get set off.

The Backseat Budgeter was created by Engaged Public, a policy group.  Its members picked a very fitting way to start connecting us to Colorado's difficult budget conversations.

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