Gotham Gazette has launched a new game: “BALANCE nyc’s 2010 budget.” It presents almost infinite choices on how to cut city spending, as well as every politician’s favorite proposed tax hike and how much money it could raise or not. The game is useful not only for the pure fun of it, but also because it shows how much money the city spends on everything from firefighting to children’s services.

And, if you’re out of ideas, you can check out the Independent Budget Office’s latest annual edition of “Budget Options for New York City,” out today. Reducing the city’s reimbursement of its retirees’ Medicare expenses by half would save nearly $100 million annually within 18 months. Not considering city workers’ overtime in the calculation of their pension benefits would save a few million right away and much more in the future, to start with.

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The Empire Center is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank located in Albany, New York. Our mission is to make New York a better place to live and work by promoting public policy reforms grounded in free-market principles, personal responsibility, and the ideals of effective and accountable government.