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Can You Balance California’s Budget?

Aired 2/29/12 on KPBS News.

California is facing another budget with a multi-billion-dollar deficit and a nonprofit group wants to help put the issue into focus. Next 10 wants ordinary citizens to take a crack at balancing the books.

Next 10 is offering its on line budget challenge, beginning Tuesday. The group said the on-line survey allows people to make policy choices and then shows the fiscal impact of those choices.

"You are able to make choices within all of those different categories," said Sara Henry of Next 10. "About how much to spend, how much to cut, what to do with those state programs. And then you're presented with the same types of choices with different revenues. You're presented with income tax options, sales tax options, business tax credits, the vehicle license fee."

More than 300,000 people have taken part in the Budget Challenge since the idea was first unveiled.

"When you are making a decision it will show you how many people that are using the California budget challenge, are voting the same way that you are," said Henry. "And there's also the ability to connect people with their lawmakers, through using the budget challenge. There's a take action button on every screen."

The Next 10 budget challenge went live on-line Tuesday morning. The group has been offering the Budget Challenge for seven years.

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