The $100 Billion Question: Next 10 Challenges All Californians to Take the "California Budget Challenge

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Sacramento, Calif., May 15, 2006 – Kicked off by the Governor’s May Budget Revision and as the California legislature launches into its annual state budget review, Next Ten today challenged all Californians to roll up their sleeves and take the “California Budget Challenge,” a nonpartisan Internet tool ( that offers Californians a chance to balance the state’s budget and explore the policy options faced by legislators today.

Next Ten also issued an open letter to all California Assembly and Senate members, asking them to challenge constituents to play the budget game. Constituents will not only have the chance to call the shots on how much to give to schools, health care, prisons and other state programs, but they will also have the ability to share their preferences with legislators.

“Next Ten has created a phenomenal tool that engages Californians in the dialogue that the Executive and Legislative branches are having over the next 45 days,” said Leon Panetta, former Director of the Federal Office of Management and Budget and Director of the Panetta Institute at California State University, Monterey Bay. “Civic engagement is the first step towards making meaningful change, and I commend Next Ten for its important work on this front.”

“Next Ten offers the sense of empowerment that is vital to affecting change,” said Carol Whiteside, President of the Great Valley Center. “And what’s exciting about the California Budget Challenge is that it can be done from any computer with an Internet connection.”

This challenge to all Californians leads into “California Budget Month,” Next Ten’s statewide initiative to engage Californians in the budget process and to foster a greater understanding about the budget choices involved in determining the state’s economic future and quality of life. This week, Next Ten will be issuing similar challenges to statewide business chambers and nonprofit organizations.

“A well-informed, engaged public can work together to break gridlock, rebuild trust in government and rebuild the California dream,” said F. Noel Perry, Founder of Next Ten. “We invite citizens up and down the state to get engaged and help shape our future budget and state.”

Next Ten’s California Budget month will culminate at the end of June with the announcement of the California Budget Challenge winner - the legislator who gets the most Californians to take the Challenge by June 15th. Next Ten will coordinate with the winner to will select two constituents to participate in ceremonial events surrounding the Governor’s signing of the budget bill.