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)

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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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Mattsworknameour concerns about them were well founded.07/28/2015 - 7:50pm
MattsworknameDepends on who you ask, accountable fto it's audiance, accountablie for lies and half truths, accountible for disengenous statements, everyone had there own reasons for going after them. Although in the case of gawker, recent events seem to indicate that07/28/2015 - 7:50pm
Andrew EisenAccountable for... what, exactly?07/28/2015 - 7:48pm
MattsworknameI think the intent was to force some kind of accountabilty on them. Granted As I said ,i wasn't exactly big on the ideas of attacking advertisers but it's a common and well used tactic. Sadly, theres not many other ways of holding media sites acountable07/28/2015 - 7:47pm
MechaTama31With the goal of...? Getting those media outlets to fire or silence the "scum"? That's shitty.07/28/2015 - 7:44pm
Mattsworknamewarned about the scum there assoicating with. Looking at you GAWKER media07/28/2015 - 7:37pm
MattsworknameI think the only reason it was the first action was alot of people felt it was the only option that might have an actual impact. and to be honest, i don't see how they were exactly wrong. Plus, as recent events showed, soem times adverisers need to be07/28/2015 - 7:37pm
MattsworknameTo be honest, I was always kinda on edge about that, while I did not like that those news outlets had acted in the way theey did, i didn't like that we thought boycotting and advertiser attacks were the only recourse07/28/2015 - 7:36pm
MechaTama31And after AE questioned that same analogy, I described it as extreme hyperbole.07/28/2015 - 7:36pm
E. Zachary KnightMecha, The "bullying and threatening" thing is from an earlier shout by Matt. I asked you tht question because you compared the petition to someone threatening to shoot your child.07/28/2015 - 7:35pm
Andrew EisenBy the way, if anyone can see into alternate timelines, I've got $20 that says Target would have ignored the petition had it been presented at the game's launch instead of over a year later.07/28/2015 - 7:34pm
MechaTama31Write a "Gamers are Alive" article. Make a video highlighting positive things about games. Counter your opponent, don't try to silence them.07/28/2015 - 7:33pm
MechaTama31EZK: Who exactly are you quoting with "bullying and threatening"? But yes, I think attacking someone's livelihood because you disagree with their opinion is underhanded and damaging to discourse.07/28/2015 - 7:30pm
E. Zachary KnightOh no. A successful online petition could embolden people to do... what exactly? Do another online petition?07/28/2015 - 7:30pm
Andrew EisenToo bad the counter petition wasn't as popular. But again, yeah, it sucks. For the reasons I've stated over and over now.07/28/2015 - 7:29pm
MechaTama31otherwise want to.07/28/2015 - 7:27pm
MechaTama31AE: I mean like right and wrong, not like true and false. And even the perception that the petition worked could be damaging. It could embolden these types of people in the future, and make it less likely for a retailer to puch back even if they otherwi07/28/2015 - 7:27pm
Andrew EisenBut yes, it is a damn shame that Target decided to kowtow in this case, best business decision or not.07/28/2015 - 7:27pm
Andrew EisenNo one's free expression was impinged. Anyone is welcome to petition whatever they want. Anyone is free to counter petition (and did in this case). Target was free to make it's own decision on whether to continue to stock GTA V or not.07/28/2015 - 7:26pm
E. Zachary KnightMatt, Mecha, So, if a petition asking a store to not sell a game is "bullying and threatening" is a petition asking Intel to pull ads from Gamasutra "bullying and threatening"?07/28/2015 - 7:25pm
 

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