Perdue unveils interactive budget challenge

Posted February 16, 2011 4:01 a.m. EST
Updated February 16, 2011 3:00 p.m. EST

— It's not Monopoly, but Gov. Bev Perdue has a serious game to try your skill at balancing North Carolina's budget before she rolls out her own plan.

Perdue's website has unveiled an interactive "Balance the Budget" challenge that gives computer users the chance to pick and choose between 100 spending and savings options to close what she calls a $2.4 billion gap for the next fiscal year starting July 1.

A player can click on options with resulting expenses or savings, from cutting class sizes and reducing community mental health funds to raising taxes.

Some of the costs associated with the changes are not immediately clear. For instance, adding one student to every K-12 classroom across the state seems like a minor change, until you realize that would lead to 3,100 job cuts for teachers. 

Perdue says the choices are among those she considered while preparing her budget, which will be released Thursday. She says the choices are difficult because they affect real people.

While users can submit their solutions to the governor, the public input will not ultimately factor into policy decisions, a spokesman said.