International Observatory on Participatory Democracy

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Seattle Budget Simulation

  • United States
  • City of Seattle
The City of Seattle offers an online budget simulator in order that citizens can understand how it works the municipal budget and propose solutions to reduce the projected deficit of $ 30 million.


Transparency and collect citizen priorities


The public in general


The budget simulator is a website page, from the City’s website.

The introduction of the simulator explains the Mayor's commitment to balance the municipal budget and some measures have been taken. It also explains the views and proposals.

It is explained that the objective of the simulator is to understand the difficulty of reducing the deficit ($ 31.7 million) and participants are asked to choose what they would cut through some examples.

The first screen prompts you to select a priority area among four: Public Safety, Human Services, Transportation, and Cultural Amenities. In this chosen priority area, no cuts will be made in this simulation budget.

After selecting the priority area is passed to the next screen, where a number of programs or expenditure items (corresponding to the other areas not selected as a priority) appear. Each of these programs has a description of what is involved and cost accounting. The aim is to reduce programs to reduce the deficit.

Once you've managed to eliminate the deficit (by selecting items and programs to stop) you can move to the next screen. At this point, it does indicate possible problems with the cuts that you've passed (union negotiations, changes to tax collection,). Then it's time to adjust the budget, further cuts to readjust the budget and other issues may arise in this case we suggest that because of federal or state laws cannot be suspended according to what programs. It is a way of pointing out the limitations of autonomy that local government.

Finally you can see statistics for all users of the simulator. There are available the spending priorities of citizens and what programs are eliminated earlier.