Reported by Landon Sawyer (McLean High School)
We woke up to the sound of the fire alarm blaring throughout the dorms. Somehow the steam from a shower set off the alarm! We waited outside for about 20 minutes before the firemen let us back inside, giving us a late start to the day.
We got to class at after 10 a.m. to begin the Budget Game. Much like our Senate simulation, we broke into groups, this time a Senate and a House. In the Budget Game, we had to decide how to balance a budget with a specific set of conditions, one of which was a $1 billion shortfall. It was very tricky determining the balance between increasing taxes and cutting programs, especially with the Governor requesting new spending on transportation and higher education. It would be ridiculous to tax too much; however cutting essential programs would have been equally catastrophic.
I believe that this was an excellent experience to show what state representatives deal with when balancing budgets. Representatives would have to take so many factors into account before making a decision: what constituents would think, moral obligations, party affiliation, and many more. Overall I felt like a learned a lot about our government and suggest that the Sorensen Institute continue with this simulation in future years.
Right now, my policy project group and I are looking through the feedback that our YPM's gave us on our brief. Tomorrow morning we give our final presentations!