How does it work?

We give you 602 million dollars. It's your job to balance the budget while funding the many important responsibilities of city government. We'll give you some guidelines – what do the departments do? What happens if you give them more–or less – money?

There are some rules.

Each department has a minimum. The game won't let you go below that minimum. Why? We want you to build a realistic city that could function in real life. Restricted funding, like state and federal dollars, are off limits. You must balance the budget (Note: we're working on an update to allow a surplus soon!).

How long does it take to play?

Short answer: Not long.

Long answer: Typically around 10 minutes. It depends on how well you'd like to understand each organization before allocating funding, if you decide to participate in polls, etc.

What happens with the data?

The Big Easy Budget Game is based on an in-person game we played with New Orleanians from across the city using red beans as the city's budget. Because the game was so successful, we wanted to try to reach an even larger audience this year.

We'll compile your budget with the budgets of hundreds of other New Orleanians. After analyzing the data, we'll report the meta-budget – the People's Budget – not only to you, the players, but to the City of New Orleans. You'll be able to see how New Orleanians want to spend tax dollars versus how the administration actually sets the budget for that year. What's the same? What's different? Most importantly – how can this information help the city create a better budget?

Sounds interesting, how can I participate?


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Real Budget Spending
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Have Your Voice Heard
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Create A Better Budget