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Think You Can Do Better? Try Balancing Ill. Budget Online

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Tired of paying more state taxes and hearing only about overdue bills and a pension crisis?

Now you can do more than cry, “Throw the bums out!”

Two Chicago think tanks and Crain’s Chicago Business have developed an interactive online “Illinois Budget Calculator.” It puts the budget’s general fund, half of the state’s total spending, in your virtual hands.

The budgeting exercise lets anyone weigh priorities using real-world dollar amounts which match the current fiscal year’s budget and appropriations.

Users may review proposals, make policy choices and decide which programs education, human services, health care or public safety should get more or less money.

Co-developers are the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability and the Institute for Work and the Economy.

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