How do you get a public to balance its own decision making? If a balance isn't achieved you get a situation where the public votes to spend money on a bunch of improvements, but also cut mill rates.

There is already a problem with balance within the current system. Politicians often only hear from small interest groups and make questionable financial decisions frequently.

Most options to address this issue come from the administrative (staff) side of municipal government, but options can include zero-based budgeting, which requires every line item to be approved (rather than just new additions and variances), and communication with voters regarding the fiscal repercussions of spending-related decisions.

Switzerland provides a good example of how direct democracy integrates with balancing a budget. Through direct democracy (referendum) Swiss voters decide how high taxes will be and express preferences about domestic and foreign policy. Switzerland is considered a corporate tax haven, with low taxation, but their income taxes are quite average and they have the lowest public debt as a % of GDP in Europe. In fact, the closest political system to the one we wish to implement has 74% less public debt as a share of GDP.

We hope the discussion on IserveU will be as valuable as the voting. The forums available will undoubtedly contain robust discussion about fiscal issues just as day-to-day political discussions do. This certainly brings up the fact that we cannot lower revenue and increase spending without consequence. Ultimately, city administration would issue a reality check in the following year's budget if every safeguard failed, a fact many communities have already become all too familiar with under our current systems. 

Finally, budgets rarely balance, which is a large part of the reason Canada currently has the highest public debt in history through spending decided by representative democracy.