This is a new website set up by the North Carolina Governor’s Office to let you try to do their job of balancing the budget. The site lets you decide what to cut or what new revenue streams to add to make the budget balance. When I saw this I had two initial thoughts: isn’t this a cool way to get people to think about how difficult it is to make these cuts and HOLY ?@&! – we are $2,400,000,000 in the red and someone thought it was a good idea to make a website about it. If it is anything like a certain local city’s website we’d only be $2,399,000,000 in debt if we didn’t do this. Talk about keeping the spending in check.
The recession has left North Carolina with a deep and unprecedented budget shortfall.
In this crisis I see an opportunity to streamline programs and refashion state government into a more nimble organization focused on serving you, the taxpayers. I also believe that as your governor, I have a responsibility to protect the investments in education, jobs and public safety that help make North Carolina great.
That being said it is fun and it does let you see first hand some of the choices the Governor and the legislature are facing this session. Should we add more students to classrooms, raise tuition, privatize the ABC system or legalize video poker? All of them come with a cost and a price. This budget even allows you to spend money on specific line items like increasing economic incentives to encourage companies to move or expand in NC. At the end it tells you what you have done by way of cuts to existing jobs but it doesn’t tell you what the outcome is beyond a under or over budget status. In this way it is decidedly less political than one might assume.
If you take the Challenge and decide to act like a politician let me know what big ticket items you cut. I’ve done it once today but plan on doing it again and being a little more serious. If you like your budget you can even forward it the Governor’s Office. Just remember:
There are real people – real families – behind these numbers. In the real world, building a budget is about more than just making hard decisions about where to cut and what jobs to lose.
Give it a try and if you are good – run for office in 2012. We can likely use you.