Online Game Challenges Players to Balance Philadelphia’s Budget

Like chief executives in other big cities, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter has been forced to make some tough financial choices of late.

Perhaps His Honor should spend some time playing Philadelphia Budget Challenge, a new online game offered by the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia.

Alan Tu of Philly’s public radio station WHYY has a review of the game:

This budget game asks 15 questions, giving you a choice to raise taxes or cut services in each case. My secret for solving the city’s budget crisis over the lunch hour is as follows.

The first thing to do is raise everybody’s taxes. That makes the game more fun. Who wants to be the mayor remembered for closing libraries?… The rest was a breeze. I ordered a 10 percent across-the-board cut to to all departments that were considered “administrative,” sold off 400 city cars, and then refinanced a loan the city has for paying into the pension fund…

It’s kind of fun, because it’s feels a little like playing Sim City. No big budgets to read. Never have to hear the citizens complain (although in the game they move away), and if you don’t like the results, you can play it over… the game is simplistic, but it is a wonderful way to generate debate in your office…

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  1. 0
    gamadaya says:

    Are you actually serious, or are you just trolling now?


    Believe in something! Even if it’s wrong, believe in it! -Glenn Beck

  2. 0
    Arell says:

    I always thought that the general population should be given an opportunity to balance their local, State, and Federal budgets, in game form.  With the current state of technology it wouldn’t be hard.

    The way it would work is, you’d have a grid, like a big puzzle.  The grid would represent the size of a balanced budget.  Then, you’d have pieces that represent all the costs of running the government, and additional programs.  Every piece would take up a certain ammount of the grid, based on how much they cost.  You place as many pieces as you can into the grid, until it is full.  Any extra pieces would be cut from the budget.  Pieces representing government running costs would be required, while programs are optional.  You can also shrink some of the costs by suggesting layoffs, like reducing the cost of the Fire Deptartment by axing 19 firemen.  Or reducing the budget for renovation of government offices (Two million for a single office!?!).

    Then everyone submits their budget, and a computer determines which choices were the most common among the participants.  Then it would generate a budget that the majority agrees upon.

    That way, Senior Analists would know they didn’t get a whole new office decor this year because the people don’t want them to.  And 19 firemen would have the satisfaction of knowing the people they save didn’t think they were worth it.

  3. 0
    gamadaya says:

    To make this game more realistic, you should recieve gifts from lobbiests and death threats from angry citizens.


    Believe in something! Even if it’s wrong, believe in it! -Glenn Beck

  4. 0
    gamadaya says:

    I really hope you become homeless one day.


    Believe in something! Even if it’s wrong, believe in it! -Glenn Beck

  5. 0
    KaylaKaze says:

    Hey, I say get rid of all welfare. Then, when you have a large enough population of desperate people, we’ll just kill you and take your money. It’s win-win. I’ll put you first on my list for a visit if my unemployment runs out before I get a new job.

  6. 0
    deuxhero says:

    Needs more entitlement programs to shut down.


    I could have ballenced it perfectly if I had the option of shuting down Office of Supportive Housing entirely. I see no reason the residents should have their money stolen by the goverment to fund it.

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