(via josh, skidder)
Try your hand at closing California’s budget shortfall, estimated at $24 billion! Fun for the entire family.
My strategy: Add every tax increase, then cut prison funding to force them to release or shorten sentences for tons of nonviolent offenders (since they’re usually there for minor drug possession). Health care was tough to trim, having few acceptable options and small payouts, so I instead picked the one educational cut that had the biggest impact but was likely to hurt the least: the $5 billion K-14 funding cut. That one hurts, too, but it seems like the least damaging of the choices, and by cutting that, I was able to save big in other areas (especially health) and avoid any of the (probably stupid) One-Time Fixes.
Result: $1.01 billion surplus, since I’m sure they’ll need the money for something else. If they don’t, maybe they could pay down some debt early to save on interest next year.
It’s a great exercise to see the tough decisions that state governments need to make. I’d love to see something like this for the federal budget.