Mayor for a day: Game challenges New Orleans residents to balance the budget

Mayor for a day: Game challenges New Orleans residents to balance the budget

In New Orleans, residents can try their hand at balancing the city’s budget with a new interactive website that challenges them to allocating money to city departments based on their priorities.

Released by the Committee for a Better New Orleans (CBNO), the Big Easy Budget Game uses the city’s financial data to help people create their own simplified version of an ideal operating budget. Every player is given $237 million dollars to work with, and players must account for the government’s responsibilities, previous year’s spending and their personal priorities.

The CBNO plans to take the spending preferences data from all players and compile it into a crowdsourced budget that will be released along with the city’s proposed budget in the fall. The group hopes to get 600 people to complete the game. CBNO has also released a second website using the city’s budget data that compares budgets against actual spending back to 2007.

New Orleans isn’t the first city to open up its books to citizens. In late 2014, the Ohio Treasury Office released an open data website after a consumer watchdog group gave the state a D-minus for fiscal transparency. New York City, Pittsburgh, Tennessee and Maine have also launched efforts to give citizens access to government finances.

About the Author

Derek Major is a former reporter for GCN.

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