Play Budget Puppet Master for SF

Think you can balance the city budget? Go ahead. Give it a try.

Thursday, May 19, 2011  |  Updated 2:48 PM PDT
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Play Budget Puppet Master for SF

There is a new on line tool you can use to try your hand at balancing the city of San Francisco's budget.

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San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee announced an online tool that  allows the public to look at the choices city officials are facing to close a  $306 million budget gap and decide what options would be best to balance the  budget.

The SF Budget Challenge provides multiple-choice questions on how  to save costs in various city departments to close the city's large budget  gap.

Each answer to the questions explains how much money would be  saved, and is accompanied by a sidebar with the positive and negative  consequences of the choice.

Those wanting to try it out can do so at  this link.

Lee has a June 1 deadline to submit a balanced budget to the Board  of Supervisors, and has asked all city departments to provide 10 percent  savings to the general fund through budget cuts or increased revenue.

"Like many cities and counties across the country, San Francisco  faces another difficult budget year," Lee said in a statement.

"The SF Budget Challenge represents the challenging choices we are  making to present a balanced budget that will keep our city safe, solvent and  successful for years to come," he said.

The online tool was developed with the help of the nonprofit Next  10, which launched a similar challenge for the state budget in 2005.

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