Community Project Spending vs. Income

Description: 
A look at the amount of money each county in New York State spends on community projects relative to how much each took in as cumulative population income. (Note: The mouse over is not working in some browsers, sorry).
The question is often asked, in the media or otherwise, whether or not government funds are being allocated efficiently and fairly. Using this common curiosity as a foundation, our group aimed to investigate whether or not funds in the many counties of New York were being dealt with in an appropriate manor. The premise was simple: compare the amount of money spent in each county on community projects to the amount of money earned by the population of each county. Assuming that, on average, most counties were wealthy enough to spend money on community projects of various sorts, we hypothesized that the spending - in a non-corrupt government - should be consistent, percentage wise, with various other counties. In other words, the correlation between how much income a county takes in cumulatively and how much they spend on community projects should be reasonably high. A county that spends drastically more than other counties - again, percentage wise - or drastically less, would then be an indicator that something peculiar is occurring in that county - perhaps a change in political ideology, a need for resources to be diverted to an emergency, or otherwise. To gain access to all this information we used a couple of data sets: NYSenate.gov: used to retrieve all the projects, their costs, and which counties commissioned them. Census.gov: used to grab the incomes of the populations of each county With this data, we built a number of data structures, ultimately used to make the comparison described above; that is, to see how much money was being spent on community projects compared to how much money was coming in to said communities (aka, counties). We then visualized this data on a map, plotting and coloring each county based on the various metrics measured above. The opacity of each county signifies the ratio of project spending to income; the more opaque a county, the higher the ratio and the more it’s spending on projects. We also include a hover over text box to show how much money was being spent and taken in, explicitly. Such a key is proved based on the intuition that richer counties may spend a larger percent on community projects than poorer ones - so basically, we included it to preemptively account for a potential flux in our data. The visualization is included, from which we found that our expectations were correct. There was no drastically outlying county which was spending much more or much less than what its people were making, fiscally. However, it does provide some insight as to what counties are spending more or less than others, which is interesting to note. We also computed the statistical correlation between the income of the counties and the amount they spent on community projects, which turned out to be .70 - pretty strong. This, at a minimum can be looked at as a threshold for normalcy, since if the correlation between the two sets ever dropped, it would mean that some counties are spending their money else where while others aren’t - a sign that something weird is going on. link to SPARQL query since it seems like the drupal input messes stuff up: http://logd.tw.rpi.edu/sparql?query-option=text&query=PREFIX+nys:+%3Chttp://logd.tw.rpi.edu/source/nysenate-gov/dataset/senator-funding-appropriations-to-community-projects-2009-2010/vocab/raw/%3E%0D%0ASELECT+%3Fcounty+%3Ffunding+%3Ftitle%0D%0AWHERE+{%0D%0A+GRAPH+%3Chttp://logd.tw.rpi.edu/source/nysenate-gov/dataset/senator-funding-appropriations-to-community-projects-2009-2010/version/2010-Nov-30%3E++{%0D%0A++%3Fnode0+nys:county+%3Fcounty.%0D%0A++%3Fnode0+nys:p_09_10funding+%3Ffunding.%0D%0A++%3Fnode0+nys:project_title+%3Ftitle.%0D%0A%0D%0A+}%0D%0A}%0D%0AORDER+BY+%3Fcounty%0D%0A%0D%0A&service-uri=&output=html&callback=&tqx=&tp=
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