During the Budget Game, we served as representatives in the Virginia Senate and House of Delegates to create a budget for the fiscal year. Our day was broken into four parts: (1) chamber meetings; (2) conference committee meetings; (3) final proposal presentations; and (4) a debrief session.
We began our simulation in chamber meetings where Senators and Delegates created a budget based on possible spending, reduction, and taxing options. Once both the Senate and the House approved their respective budgets, members of each chamber attended one of two conference committee meetings to present their preliminary budgets to the representatives in the opposite chamber. During the conferences, the Senators and Delegates in each group worked together to blend both plans into two budgets that pleased both chambers. While there were differing opinions as to what programs should be cut and what funding should be added, we communicated, debated, and compromised to create a budget that pleased all.
After meeting in our conference committees, we all came together to present the final proposals for the budgets based on the discussions during each conference committee meeting. One representative from each committee presented their budgets to both chambers and discussed the benefits of approving their budget. After deliberation, we voted on and approved a budget that we believed served the Commonwealth of Virginia the best.
One difficulty that most students faced during the simulation was balancing personal beliefs and opinions with the opinions of fellow policymakers and constituents. Our representatives must take into consideration many factors when making decisions like possible re-election and the demographic of their specific locality. The Budget Game taught us how to approach difficult decisions through communication, critical thinking, and compromise between parties and chambers.
We then returned back to Bice House for the afternoon to continue working on our culminating projects with our group members and prepare for our day trip to Richmond the next morning.