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The Lamorinda Democratic Club’s Friday, May 16, meeting will focus on the California state budget debate through an interactive presentation that will allow the club’s members to decide how they would adjust state revenues and spending.

People attending the May 16 meeting will participate in the California Budget Challenge, created by the nonprofit organization Next 10. Based on Next 10’s popular web site (http://www.next10.org/challenge), those in attendance will vote using an instant-response keypad while considering different spending and revenue policy options.

In this way, you will call the shots on how much to spend on schools, the environment, healthcare, prisons and other state programs – and then figure out how to pay for them. Should we levy a carbon tax? Restructure Proposition 13? Cut income taxes?

You decide! All of us will see the overall results just seconds after you vote. Next 10 created the California Budget Challenge as a public service to engage more Californians in the budget process and to foster a greater understanding about the tough choices we need to make to ensure California is a great place to live both now and in the future.

The choices are stark. As Next 10 explains: “A multi-billion dollar budget shortfall. A Republican Governor and a Democratic Legislature. An economic downturn. A mortgage crisis. Tough issues, tough choices.â€? Throw in the twothirds vote requirement to pass a budget or raise revenues, and you will get a feel for difficult it is to solve the current $10 billion-plus state budget shortfall. With the club’s meeting scheduled for just days after Governor Schwarzenegger releases his “May Reviseâ€? of the state budget, this exercise will be particularly timely and informative of the choices facing our state legislators. Please join us on Friday, May 16!

At our April meeting, the general membership voted on and approved a new set of bylaws for the Lamorinda Democratic Club. The new bylaws will take effect at our May 16 meeting. The By-Laws can be viewed on our web site at www.lamorindademoclub.org.