The budgetary process can be tough for both government officials and citizens alike. One company, OneNorth, is trying to help ease the tension between citizens and officials by developing a budget simulation platform called Citizen Budget. Through the tool, citizens are allowed to create their own version of a balanced budget and submit it to government officials. The tool for each municipality can be accessed through Facebook, Twitter, or e-mail. Government officials select between 10 and 30 programs and services for citizens to work with. Citizens can customize budget levels for each program or service, but the overall budget must be balanced in order for citizens to submit it to government officials. What’s great about this platform is that it helps citizens understand the tradeoffs that are necessary to produce a balanced budget each year. Similar tools have been made available at the federal and state level across the country, but platforms such as Citizen Budget make the technology available to any level of government and allow citizens to submit their proposed budgets as feedback to officials. As government budgeting continues to be a hot topic in all levels of government, a tool like Citizen Budget is a powerful way to both educate and involve citizens in the budget process.
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