A new online budget simulator has allowed residents of Hartford, Connecticut to take a more active role in sharing their budget priorities with municipal officials and in understanding government spending. Working with Hartford 2000, a coalition of neighborhood revitalization zone communities, the city of Harford holds a People’s budget workshop annually. This year, it was made much more interactive through a simulator that allows residents to set funding levels in the budget and determine how to pay for them.
As reported by American City and County,
This year Hartford and Hartford 2000 made it easy for residents to understand and weigh in on local spending with the adoption of Balancing Act, an online budget simulator from Denver-based Engaged Public. The simulator lets users try their hand at balancing local budgets.
The product’s web-based software provides an interface that allows residents to see where local money comes from and where it is spent, and to move those dollars around to reflect their own priorities.
Like elected officials, users must come up with a budget that is balanced. If a user increases funding for the parks and recreation department, for example, they then must either decrease funding for another program, or raise taxes so that the budget is balanced.
Learn more about Balancing Act here.