The Budginator

These must be desperate times, because this is surely a desperate measure: California is crowdsourcing its response to its budget crisis.

Well, kinda. The Los Angeles Times has created a tool that asks Californians to step in where lawmakers have thus far failed: to tackle the state’s financial woes.

“Try your hand at closing California’s budget shortfall, estimated at $24 billion,” the paper writes in its explanation of the tool. “It’s not easy, but it can be done. Cut spending, raise taxes and/or borrow to get the state out of the red. For each choice — drawn from proposals from across the political spectrum — we’ve tried to give some sense of the effects. As you craft your proposal, the Deficit Meter will show your progress.”

One fan of the tool: Arnold Schwarzenegger. “If you haven’t tried the LA Times budget balancer,” the California governor—or, uh, his Twitter feed—declared yesterday, “try now: Post your solution or comments here:”

Apparently, though, Californians themselves are less excited about the prospect of walking in the Governator’s shoes. The total number of deficit-reduction strategies offered up so far, from a state with over 36 million residents? Eight. Yes: eight.

[h/t Editor & Publisher]

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Megan Garber is an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University. She was formerly a CJR staff writer.