TAG Strategies, a firm focused on producing innovations for public policy, recently created the Colorado Backseat Budgeter tool. This online guide through Colorado’s 2010-2011 State Budget allows citizens to walk step-by-step through the budgeting process, informing them of the trade-offs that have to be made and empowering them to have a say in those decisions. According to Tom Adams, one of the principle creators of this tool, many state legislators are using the tool to gauge public sentiment on where cuts should be made and if tax increases are a feasible strategy for balancing the budget. One interesting data point so far collected: 70% of respondents have supported some type of tax increase to support things like higher education.
The tool is also open to the general public for free, and any public agency can use it for a fee.