The New York State just launched a new Web site, Reduce NY Spending, to inform the public about the budget deficit issues and to draw them into a discussion. The design is great for its purpose. No bells and whistles. Just the right amount of information, which is quick to find and navigate. Information is not just in static prose, but also in video format - giving Governor Patterson the chance to speak directly to his audience. My favorite is the budget calculator, where visitors can see what goes into the state budget, play with the numbers and try to balance it out themselves.
Governor presents his plan to balance the budget, answers the most frequently answered questions and invites everyone to an speak up. You can send the Governor and his staff your two cents by using this form.
My hope is that the Governor and his staff respond promptly and effectively to questions they get from this section. Perhaps we'll see a truly interactive, public forum soon? Nonetheless, this is a pretty good crisis site example.