SACRAMENTO, Calif., July 29 /PRNewswire/ -- As the budget stalemate
wears on, the nonprofit, nonpartisan organization Next 10 has just released
a newly updated version of the California Budget Challenge so that voters
can try their hand at dealing with the tradeoffs required in striking a
budget deal. The newly re-released 2008 Budget Challenge, an online
interactive educational game, contains updated projections of budget
deficits as well as updated policy choices in the areas of education,
health care, and the environment.
"Right now, Democratic leaders are calling for tax increases to close
the budget gap, while the Republicans are calling for spending cuts. We
want voters to understand the costs and benefits associated with taking
either route or some type of compromise," said F. Noel Perry, the founder
of Next 10.
The Budget Challenge permits users to examine the State's most pressing
budget policy choices. It asks users to set priorities for the next five
years by building a budget that reflects their values and vision for
California's future. Users who log onto the updated Challenge will find 15
policy questions (8 spending questions and 7 revenue questions) they must
answer in order to build a complete budget. A few of the new policy options
include (but are not limited to):
-- A proposal to increase income taxes for upper-middle and upper income
earners by $5.1 billion.
-- A proposal to cut healthcare spending by tightening eligibility for
state-run health services, cutting $1.3 billion from the budget.
-- A proposal to release non-violent, non-serious, non-sex offenders
without prior serious or violent offenses 20 months early cutting
$700 million from the budget by 2012-2013.
-- A $200 million dollar spending proposal would fund university-level
research of renewable energy technologies. An alternative $500 million
dollar proposal would fund energy efficiency measures.
The interactive features of the online Budget Challenge ensure that
users not only educate themselves but also engage in the budget process.
The game gives users the option to email state leaders feedback about the
policies they believe are important to the state's future.
"We would like to see Californians engaged in the budget. They should
influence the process because these policies have a profound impact on our
everyday lives. Decisions being made in Sacramento determine everything
from who gets healthcare, to who is able to go to college, and how much we
pay in taxes," said Perry.
In order to get Californians involved in the budget process through the
online 2008 Budget Challenge, Next 10 is now distributing newly updated
educational budget brochures to libraries, schools, colleges, and
nonpartisan civic organizations across the state. Since its launch in 2005,
more than 50,000 Californians have taken the Challenge at
About Next 10: Next 10 is an independent, nonpartisan organization that
educates, engages, and empowers Californians to improve the state's future.
Recognizing the complexity of issues confronting California today, Next 10
is focused on improving the state over the next ten years, and the ten
years after that. Next 10 was founded by F. Noel Perry, a venture
capitalist and philanthropist concerned about California today and the
California our children will inherit. http://www.Next10.org
SOURCE Next 10