class=img_thumbleft>Do you think you can solve St. Paul's budgetary woes without parking officers handing out 55 tickets per day
? The capital city is looking at a $15 million budget deficit and amateur accountants are invited to visit the "Budget Cruncher"
on the city's website to try their hand at keeping the city open for business for another year. The program allows one to make adjustments to expenses and revenue sources. Clicking the "Review Effects" button reveals how your changes affect city services. Overhead costs (mayor's salary, city attorney's office, HR, etc.) appear untouchable, hotel taxes and franchise fees as well. Cutting expenses by 2 to 10 percent and raising revenue by 3 to 5 percent for my efforts yielded a lousy $4 million in deficit reduction. Any bright ideas?