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Think You Can Balance The State Budget? Here's Your Chance

By Samantha Abernethy in News on Apr 25, 2013 5:40PM

We all know Illinois is mired in a massive fiscal mess with an $8.09 billion deficit. But do you think you know how to close that gap?

Crain's created a handy-dandy calculator for you to try and fix the state's problem and maybe pay some bills. Without major changes, the state's balance of unpaid bills could top $21.7 billion.

Would you increase revenue or cut expenses? Give it a shot. Crain's writes:

State policymakers have three means to meet Illinois' constitutional requirement of a balanced budget: change spending, change tax revenues or borrow money. These are constrained by the state's constitution, court orders and certain legal limitations.

The Budget Calculator lets you try to balance the budget within these constraints. You can change program funding to reflect your own priorities. Likewise, you can change tax rates and what gets taxed.

Want to raise the corporate tax rate? What if the state just stopped funding all preschool programs? Would those changes even make a dent? Here's your chance to play Let's Make A Deal! (or maybe play God?) with real-life situations. Get lost in the budget without having to do the math. Unfortunately, the numbers can't tell you exactly what would happen to society if you made those changes, but it all starts with the numbers. If you think you've found the solution, share the results with your friends and your state legislator.