Way cool budget tool

The Mass Budget and Policy Center has unveiled their new interactive “Budget Browser (browser.massbudget.org). This tool provides state budget information from FY 2001 through this year, updated to include budget proposals for the next fiscal year as they are released by the Governor and the Legislature. It’s fully searchable, with modules that let one drill down to compare line items and categories of spending.

As the introduction to the site points out, two things make the tool particularly useful for analysis and understanding of state budget numbers:

  • “Budget amounts may be seen in nominal dollars or adjusted for inflation, allowing for meaningful comparisons over time. In addition, users may create and download charts to use for reports, media stories, or other documents.
  • “The Browser tracks line items that have moved from one department to another through various government reorganizations and consolidations, with notes alongside the data alerting the user to these accounting issues.”

There’s also detailed tax and revenue information (did you know that 37 states have higher overall state and local taxes than Massachusetts, as a percent of personal income?), a glossary and resource link list.

As we get ready for the legislative phase of the budget process (the House Ways and Means budget is expected April 14), bookmark this site and get your wonk goggles ready.
-Brian Rosman

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