Have a whack at balancing the state’s budget

The Washington League of Education Voters has posted a program on its website that allows individuals to balance the state budget, or attempt to do so, from the comfort of their own living rooms or workplaces. The task, come up with $4.6 billion worth of cuts or revenue enhancements for the 2011-2013 budget. Items listed are those being considered by the Legislature.

I had a go, but in the interest of remaining an objective reporter, I won’t be sharing it with you. I will say that I balanced the budget, but I was not proud of my choices. I’ll admit I was drawn to to the larger ticket items, especially when my first effort, which I thought was pretty harsh, barely made a dent. Also, I’ll admit to being emboldened by the fact I knew this was just an exercise that will not have an actual effect on people, businesses and the environment.

I also noticed an absence of certain revenue-generating items that apparently aren’t on the table at this time, for example the hypothetical revenue from the sale of marijuana in state liquor stores. Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson, D-Seattle, on Tuesday filed a bill to allow this. A similar effort, also by Dickerson, failed last year.

Hey, I know a way to generate some revenue. They should market this program as a video game like The Sims, sell it to Facebook … call it “The Chopping Block” …

So, let us know how you do and what creative ideas you come up with. The program allows you to post a link to your plan. Attached is a primer on the budget process from the state’s Office of Financial Management on the 2009-11 biennial budget, which may come in handy as a guide.budgetprocess

4 thoughts on “Have a whack at balancing the state’s budget

  1. Yes, I have been playing around with this a couple of weeks now since it came out and it is rather entertaining to explore all sorts of options. And NO…..I will not be sharing.

  2. It is a skewed exercise. It gives you a limited number of options to choose from and eliminates entire programs or budget lines instead of reductions.

    Unfortunately, it also isn’t based on the concept of priorities of government.

  3. Thank you kathryn. I have been to many meetings and particpated in committees where the parameters were set up for a specfic outcome.
    Still happens, but I am glad we have those in leadership that see this also.

  4. @Kathryn – If it is a skewed exercise, than what do you propose? What are the other options? It’s all fine and dandy to say cut waste or cut this or cut that, but unless you can put something substantive behind those words, they aren’t solutions.

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