Dang. All the states should be doing this, and not just states, either. Not that it couldn’t stand some improvement, but what’s there is a good start.
Go to the web page hosting the Washington Budget Calculator. What it is, is an interactive database that lets you propose what you think should be the budget levels for various parts of state government. You can fill in the blanks and (persumably: this isn’t clear) send in the results.
The page notes, “Think about what it costs to provide programs and services to Washington state citizens. Our state is growing and we need to provide core services in education and other areas. What choices will you make? What areas of government would you invest in? We do not have the money to pay for programs at current levels. Knowing this, what would you fund? To learn more about what is funded by General Fund-State dollars in each priority area and how much programs cost, click on the links in the table. Use this information to inform your budget decision.” Indeed, a key part of the page is a series of links to detailed budget information, so the participant can get some rough idea of the impact of various choices.
Where does the money come from, and where does it go? Not hard to work out, on this page.
The tool could be extended and fine-tuned, and its use as a public input device could be improved. But this is a useful idea that ought to be widely adopted elsewhere.Share on Facebook