Flash Game Lets Users Try to Balance Maryland Budget

January 18, 2010 -

Think Ninja Gaiden Black was a hard game? Try balancing Maryland’s state budget.

The Maryland Budget and Tax Policy Institute is offering visitors to its website a chance to try their hand at making bureaucratic ends meet in a new Flash game. As the Governor of Maryland—and faced with a projected deficit of at least $1.7 billion dollars for the fiscal 2011 year—players will attempt to balance the budget by choosing varying spending options in a variety of government-funded sectors, such as education, environment, social services, health and transportation.

Additionally, ten different special interest groups will weigh in with their reactions to your spending decisions.

The Institute’s director, Neil Bergsman, explained to the Carroll County Times the reasoning behind creating the game:

I thought that doing something that was a little bit like a video game would be able to inform, educate and entertain some people who wouldn’t otherwise come to our site and read about the state budget.


Comments

Re: Flash Game Lets Users Try to Balance Maryland Budget

I agree with Deuxhero.  Is this what Democrats need?  Gamers to solve their budget problems?  You know why there is a deficit?  It's because the government is spending more money than it brings in with taxes.  So, there are two options:  raise taxes or cut spending.

@DarkSaber:  Right, because the government is running it SO WELL.  We have new textbooks each year, right?  Updated technology in the classrooms, right?  Graduation rates are at an all-time high, right?  Pull your head out of your ass.

@Mortium:  I'm LOLing all over your "PoliSci" degree.  Oh, please, educate us "slow-witted" people how you, the elite intellectual, understands the situation.  I'm a Marylander too, and have watched as Democratic policies and more government spending have not only hindered this state, but apparently forced it to create a video game to have regular people try to fix it.

By the way, never confuse education with intelligence, because the two rarely correlate.  Just because you have a degree doesn't make you "smarter" than someone without one.  Thinking so just makes you a close-minded ideologue, elitist, and moron.

 

Re: Flash Game Lets Users Try to Balance Maryland Budget

Really? Hindered how? When?

The Democratic Party has been running things quite well thank you very much for the last 40-some years with a brief 4 year interruption a few years back when the GOP managed to beat a horrid canadite for governor (seriously, the ONE Kennedy with no charisma, that literally sucks all the life out of the room at campaign rallies, it's uncanny really, one minute the crowd is fired up, the next Kathleen Kennedy Townsend gets up to speak and then everyone's dejected and ready to go home). We jealously protect our Triple-A Bond Rating, which only came under the only real peril in my lifetime during said Republican's tenure as Governor.

 

And that website isn't by the state government, it's by a non-profit looking to show how hard it is to balance the budget. We've weathered recessions before, spreading the pain out across the state as much as possible, but this is something else. Even with the rainy-day fund (during good years the Maryland General Assembly puts money away for recessions like this one... it's never enough though).

Re: Flash Game Lets Users Try to Balance Maryland Budget

And what makes you think a company looking out for PROFIT above all else will have new textbooks each year, updated technology in the classrooms (unless you're lucky enough to live near a Microsoft, Apple, Intel etc run-school) and would probably refuse to let you graduate until you pay back what your education cost. Pull YOUR head out your arse.

(Also, I shudder to think what would happen to childhood obesity in McDonalds or Burger King run schools)

--------------------------------------------------

I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: Flash Game Lets Users Try to Balance Maryland Budget

Because if they didn't someone else would and everyone would take your money there?

 

 

What is forcing the government to provide quality education? Absolutely nothing.

Re: Flash Game Lets Users Try to Balance Maryland Budget

I'm also a Marylander in the house, in that liberal bastion of MoCo.

As far as I can tell, this is a game made by the Maryland Budget and Tax Policy Institute, which is not affliated with the government; it's a non-partisan non-profit group.  This game illustrates how tough it is to cut back on the budget and not piss off special interest groups.  I managed to balance the budget, but got everybody angry at me.

There's a bunch of hard choices ahead and not many palatable choices.

Re: Flash Game Lets Users Try to Balance Maryland Budget

Shout out to MoCo!

I played around with it a little late last night, there are some options missing but most of those are a pennies compared to the deficit we need to fix. The one interest group I wouldn't fear too much is the "tax payer groups". That's orgs like the Club for Growth. i.e. Republicans. As I've mentioned they GOP is pretty irrelevant in MD politics. Part of the reason why there is little to no coverage of State Politics by DC-area news... no fight/horserace, so the reporters are not interested.

Re: Flash Game Lets Users Try to Balance Maryland Budget

It's not just Republicans though; I remember an amendment that the voters passed requiring an unanimous vote of the County Council to raise property taxes, rather than the 7 of 9 that was required before.  Also, I remember the days when my district was represented by Connie Morella ;)

I wish it was a bit more robust; you can either tap all of the rainy day fund or none of it.  I managed to get the deficit down to about 1/3 of the rainy day fund, but wasn't given the option only to tap that much money.  If they had a higher budget, it would have been cool to have a poor college student lambast me for freezing state aid to colleges, just to give that added bit of realism.

It reminded me fondly of a worksheet my history teacher gave out to me in high school, trying to balance the federal government's budget.  It was rather eye-opening to see how much of the federal budget was tied up in social security, medicare/medicaid, and other social services rather than something like defense or education.

Re: Flash Game Lets Users Try to Balance Maryland Budget

Ah yes, the Ficker Amendment... Robin Ficker the OTHER biggest disgrace to the legal profession... That will get repealed in short order.

And Connie Morella, was ineffective at best. I had a woman on election day a few years ago praising Senator Mikulski in the same breath she was ripping Representive Morella a new one. Congresswoman Morella was in the MAJORITY at the time, and this woman's son was having issues with the U.S. Military and could not get help from Morella at all, but her U.S. Senator from BALTIMORE was able to get the problem fixed rather quickly (for the uninitiated as there is single party rule in MD, the fighting is regional based rather than party, Baltimore and Montgomery County don't particularly like each other).

After Morella's defeat (unfortunately to that sleazebag Chris Van Hollen - it's personal and dates back to the 1994 election), what did she end up doing? Why W appointed her to be Ambassador to France, and you know what the Republicans think about the French.

Also remember, there is a cost, not just political to any and every cut. Did you see the one for promoting film industry in MD? $2M in expendatures by the State generated over $15M in economic activity, and represented quite a few jobs. It was a nice touch to add something like that into the simulation.

Re: Flash Game Lets Users Try to Balance Maryland Budget

define "entitlements"

school vouchers do NOT cut costs, only bleeds money out of the public schools which are already under-funded.

 

clearly you are just paroting right-wing talking points.

Speaking as a Marylander, with a degree in PoliSci (Government for the slow-witted amongst you), who actually interned in the Maryland General Assembly your ignorance is HIGHLY offensive.

Re: Flash Game Lets Users Try to Balance Maryland Budget

Exactly. They are underfunded because they cost so damn much. Put it in the hands of private people who will be competeing, and the costs will go down.

Re: Flash Game Lets Users Try to Balance Maryland Budget

Oh sure, what could POSSIBLY be wrong with private interests controlling schools.

--------------------------------------------------

I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: Flash Game Lets Users Try to Balance Maryland Budget

Couldn't be worse than the government (Hell, even if it was worse you could choose to send your child(ren) somewhere else, can't do that with the government).

Re: Flash Game Lets Users Try to Balance Maryland Budget

WOW you are stupid....

You already have options to the public schools.... private schools already exist, as does homeschooling. But in doing so you CHOOSE to spend your own personal resources to opt out of the system that has been set up for the benefit of society as a whole. It's there if you want to use it, but you don't have to, just don't expect society to subsidize your choice at the expense of everyone else's children.

Re: Flash Game Lets Users Try to Balance Maryland Budget

Needs more options to kill entitlements, implement school vouchers and other great cost cutting tools.

 

Game is also a pain to read (what is the +### a + to?, lacks a total change from current budget)

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