A new website from the city of Denver will put the city’s finances in very real terms for you. Answer a few questions about your income and spending, and the new tool will spit out a receipt that estimates how the city is spending your local taxes.
It’s a pretty engaging new way to visualize city spending. It shows, for example, that a homeowner who makes $75,000 and owns a $420,000 house might pay $1,300 in local property and sales taxes.
Of that sum, about $3 would go to the City Council and Mayor’s offices, $16 to affordable housing, $160 to social services and $446 to capital projects, such as bike lanes and playgrounds.
However, it’s important to realize that this excludes state and federal money. For example, while our hypothetical taxpayer is only paying $2 in local taxes toward homeless services, the federal government also provides tens of millions of dollars for local service providers each year.
And if you want a much deeper look at city spending, check out the annual financial report. Page 21 has a detailed breakdown of expenses by program.