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Friday, December 01, 2023

If you think eliminating a state budget deficit is easy, the Bob Graham Center for Public Service wants you to try it for yourself.

A new application on the center’s website challenges the average person to take on the daunting task of eliminating Florida’s $3.6 billion deficit, the same task that Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida legislature will face in March.

Senate President Mike Haridopolos will announce the winner Thursday. Those who can successfully complete the puzzle can enter to win a free iPad.

“What we’re trying to do is invite people to solve our budget crisis and to understand a little bit more about what are the main components of our Florida budget,” said Ann Henderson, director of the Graham Center. “We are one of the states where our Constitution requires a balanced budget.”

When the application is opened, users are greeted by a pie chart and a series of boxes where students can enter how much money they want to cut from each sector.

“If you try the application, you can quickly conclude that this is a lot a lot more difficult than you might think, and there is pain involved no matter what action you might take,” Henderson said.

Henderson said she hopes that the challenge will have 2,000 entries by Thursday.

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