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Colorado Featured In Online Budget, Taxpayer Receipt Simulator

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ASPA as an organization.

By PA TIMES online
April 14, 2015

Engaged Public, a Denver-based public policy firm, recently launched an interactive, online tool for citizens to try their own “balancing act” directing state revenue and spending dollars. Coloradans can use Taxpayer Receipt tool to generate a breakdown of where their tax dollars go.

The Taxpayer Receipt tool is a component of “Balancing Act,” a fun, easy way for citizens to learn about public budgets and the choices their elected officials face in the budgeting process. According to Chris Adams, president of Engaged Public, “Coloradans can use Balancing Act in two ways: to learn more about state budgeting priorities and share their own recommendations, and to see how their personal taxes break down by program.”

Colorado is the first state to use Balancing Act. The state’s Office of State Planning & Budgeting provided calculations and narrative descriptions for the state budget simulation. The Colorado Futures Center at Colorado State University assisted with the conceptualization and preparation of both the Balancing Act Colorado budget and Taxpayer Receipt. The $10.3 billion Colorado General Fund budget on Balancing Act offers an easy, interactive format for citizens to add and subtract money in various revenue and spending categories, with the goal of creating a balanced budget that can be shared with the click of a button.

The Colorado Taxpayer Receipt tool asks for an individual’s annual income, age and vehicle usage to generate an unofficial breakdown of taxes paid. From the user data provided, the tool generates a forward-looking estimate of how taxes paid break down across several categories including education, environment, public safety, transportation, health and human services and general government. It also shows the amount an individual pays for taxpayer refunds.

To learn more about budgets on Balancing Act, visit http://abalancingact.com/.

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