I had an idea and was wondering if there's a term for it or if there might even be groups or research surrounding this policy.
The basic idea is that each year citizens of a country would vote for how taxes would be spent with their income tax report. For example, one citizen may have a grandparent who is dying of cancer, and so they would vote fully in favour of a particular health care program aimed at cancer prevention. Someone else might vote to improve a particular highway that they drive every day. Votes could also be split between programs (and most people would probably split their vote).
Each person's vote would then control how an equal portion of the taxes are spent. For example, a country with $1 billion in total taxes and 1 million tax-filing citizens would give each tax-filing citizen control over allocating $1,000 of tax income, regardless of their income.
There would be a minimum criteria in order to establish a program, for example 500,000 signatures might be required. There might also be restrictions on the types of programs that could be established. Then, each program could be given a unique identifying number. In the end, determining the budget is then a matter of information processing once a year. To prevent any sort of vote buying, programs would never be given the identities of who voted for them.
The idea would basically create a free market for government programs. Programs that failed to produce good results or didn't really help that many people would lose funding year over year in favour of better programs, as people would simply vote that portion of the taxes elsewhere. It would reduce the ability for lobbyists to influence where funding goes, since instead of lobbying a congress they'd have to lobby every citizen. New and better government programs would be able to be established. It would allow the taxes to accurately represent the needs of everyone as best they could be articulated.
Note this is not intended to be a discussion of whether this is a good idea or not. I wanted to find out if anyone has ever looked into or even implemented an idea like this. I'm hoping for a name for this policy if one exists or if anyone knows if there are any present organizations advocating this idea or anything even close to similar.