A list of all potential budget items is made. Individuals then choose what percantage of their income taxes goes into each listed program. Referendums and elected officials choose what programs are on the list. Low funding marks programs for removal, either by elected officials or a vote. The list is filed annually with the tax return. A change form could be used midyear.
Several different versions of each program could possibly be used, allowing voters to choose the one more accurately affecting their desires for the program. This would also allow programs that do not meet their goals to be repremanded by voters by having their budget reduced, but would split the divide money and effort towards a common or similar goal.
This would link the resources held by each program to the voters desires for them to succeed.
Voters put their money where they want it. They see and have a better understanding of where this money is going. Confidence in the budget should increase, hopefully with less feelings of government waste.
Programs known to be wasting money will be repremanded by the public through reducal of budgets.
Voters may not be good with budgeting, and will likely do a poor job of reasonably spreading funds through all programs. They will likely give certain favored programs all the money while giving others none. This may even out somewhat throughout the entire voting populace, but likely not enough, especially when certain programs are hot for debate while others are not. Alternatively, voters may vote to increase or decrease funding for different programs by varying amounts. This could become rather complex, especially if the voters must adhere to a given funding level. If they don’t, then their changes could increase or decrease taxes, giving voters direct control over this. To simplify things, ratings for each program might be done like the NPAT system, going from greatly increase to greatly decrease, perhaps numbered in counting +3 to -3. A composite of all these would then be taken and the average vote would be taken. Guidelines would need to be established for what each choice means in execution.
Some programs would likely be subject to a lot of negative feedback in the media, which wouldn’t neccisarily be well deserved. Programs doing well to achieve their goals may lose major budgeting or even be killed because of a bad incident or string of incidents that gets the public angry with them. Without the system like above with multiple options available, an entire area of government may be killed, with nothing to replace it. If, for instance, the military was seen poorly in the public eye because of a war or series of other incidents, the country may end up with no military all of a sudden. This would be alleviated somewhat by the funding modification system of above.
Programs would want to spend a lot of money on advertising, to raise public awareness in their favor, especially when a negative story is run on them in the media. If there are competing programs, a lot of mudslinging might occur. This may have to be strictly limited, or perhaps even all adverstising funding eliminated, by legislation. There could be a governemnt program, even a seperate branch of government, created to independantly inform voter about all programs.