The Los Angeles Budget Challenge is a public participation initiative by the City of Los Angeles that aims to get citizens’ input on how to address the pending budget crisis based on on a selection of issues and proposed policies.
The site uses the Next 10 Budget Challenge tool. Participants can give input on a selection of revenue and spending items in the city budget and choose from a number of pre-defined options (e.g. under “transportation” the choices are “no change”, “reduce funding by 10%” and “reduce funding by 20%”).
Some basic background information is provided to help participants make their decision on each policy issue.
The budget deficit at hand is $400 million. The eight questions under spending offer up to $293 million of budget savings. The four questions under revenue offer up to $280 million in additional revenue.
From the welcome message by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa:
How will you balance the City’s budget?
The Mayor of the City of Los Angeles is given the responsibility by the City Charter to develop a budget plan that must be presented for City Council consideration by April 20th of each year.
This year, the City of Los Angles will be challenged by many issues, including declining revenues, increased service demands, and soaring City pension contributions.
As we begin the planning process for Fiscal Year 2010-11, I invite you to help me develop my proposed budget by participating in the Los Angeles Budget Challenge where you will be asked to make some of the tough choices necessary to balance the City’s budget.
The disclaimer notes that “[t]he LA Budget Challenge is a budget balancing simulation. Budget impact amounts for each policy option have been simplified and adjusted to meet the needs of this online exercise.”