Schipske Challenges Local News Media to Host LB Budget Balancer

Los Angeles Times 3
Los Angeles Times 3 (Photo credit: jasoneppink)

Schipske Challenges Long Beach News Media to Host “Long Beach Budget Balancer”
– Says ‘It’s time we had everyone’s input on the City budget’
For Immediate Release
Contact: Office of Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske, 562 570-6932

               Long Beach, CA; April 20, 2012 – Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske today challenged the Long Beach news media to join the ranks of the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, the MinnPost and the Cleveland Plain Dealer and other news outlets who host online budgeting tools that give readers the opportunity to help balance local governments’ budgets.
               “For the last two budget cycles, I have asked City management to obtain software that would allow all residents to give their direct input on how the City should balance its budget,” says Schipske, pointing out that several cities provide this online tool. “Management has informed me that the majority of the Council may not support this expenditure. So I am asking our local news media to take on the challenge of providing an online budgeting tool for their readers just as is provided by other news outlets.”
               Schipske points out that there are a number of online tools available at a reasonable cost. Input of budget information would need to be provided by City staff. These tools include:
·        Budget Allocator: Approximate cost: $4,000. http://bangthetable.com/products/budget-allocator/feature-tour/
·        Next10: Approximate cost: $15,000 (is used for the California Budget Project and by several cities). http://www.budgetchallenge.org/pages/home
·        User Voice: Approximate cost: $289 per month (is used by the City of Seattle). http://www.uservoice.com/
·        Peak Democracy: Approximate cost: $500 per month. http://www.peakdemocracy.com/how_it_works
·        Budget Simulator: Approximate cost: $4,000 – 6,000. http://www.budgetsimulator.com/info/

News outlets  and other sites offering these online budgeting tools include:
·        MinnPost: You Fix the Minnesota Deficit: http://www.minnpost.com/data/2011/02/you-fix-minnesota-deficit
·        Los Angeles Times: California Budget Balancer: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/budget/
·        Cleveland Plain Dealer: Try Your Hand at Closing the Gap: http://www.cleveland.com/open/index.ssf/2011/03/the_budget_widget_try_your_han.html
Mayor Annise Parker
Mayor Annise Parker (Photo credit: eschipul)
·        California Budget Challenge: http://www.budgetchallenge.org/pages/home
·        City of Houston: Budget Balancer: http://www.houstonbudgetbalancer.com/

               Schipske notes that hosting an online budgeting tool by the news media also sends a message to residents that the responses will be fully reported – “even if they are uncomfortable for local officials to read”.
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