Do you think you could build a better budget than the state legislature of Gov. Tony Evers? Now you have a chance to try.

The Institute for Reforming Government (IRG), a Madison-based conservative think tank, has an online budget simulator for you to exercise your budget-writing skills.

“This new tool allows all Wisconsin residents to gain a greater understanding of our state’s budget—from experienced legislative stakeholders to members of the public who want to be more informed about how their tax dollars are being spent,” said CJ Szafir, president of IRG. “As the dashboard shows, Governor Evers’ spending priorities quickly spends down the surplus while simultaneously trying to enact over $1 billion in tax increases. As Wisconsin families and businesses strive to emerge from the pandemic, it is more critical now than ever that our leaders craft a responsible budget that funds the priorities Wisconsinites expect from their government, without hiking costs for our state’s taxpayers.”

The budget simulator uses data from the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau and Governor Evers’ proposed budget. It starts with the budget surplus Evers inherited and then allows the user to increase or lower spending and increase or lower taxes.

Think the beer tax should be eliminated but the tobacco tax should be raised through the roof? You can unleash your inner-Joint Finance Committee chairman and rewrite the budget.

However, the budget simulator does not include a dark-of-night last-minute insertion of secret budget provisions. Those policy items you will still have to fantasize about on your own.

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