The Mayor’s Office is launching the Fiscal Year 2010 -11 Budget Survey, the “LA Budget Challenge,” an interactive online survey that allows Angelenos to provide direct input on real budget issues that the City is facing, by participating in a budget balancing simulation exercise. The LA Budget Challenge survey is also designed to educate users on the actual development of the City budget, which will be particularly challenging during Fiscal Year 2010/2011.

Please visit the survey site at http://labudgetchallenge.lacity.org and be among the first to take the survey!

As an important part of the annual budget development process, the City Charter requires that each Neighborhood Council have the opportunity to present the Mayor and the City Council with a list of priorities for the City budget. Over the past four years, Mayor Villaraigosa has implemented a structured process to ensure that all Neighborhood Councils and community members have the opportunity to become informed about the proposed City budget and have the ability to submit their ideas, comments, and budget priorities directly to his Office.

The Los Angeles Budget Challenge survey asks respondents to address next year’s projected General Fund budget deficit of approximately $400 million by making decisions on reductions to programs and services, implementing Citywide cost-cutting measures, and by raising revenue through taxes or other initiatives.

While completing the Los Angeles Budget Challenge survey, participants will receive educational information about the City’s finances and opportunities for community input, thereby making the City budget process more transparent and accessible for all Angelenos.

Responses to the Los Angeles Budget Challenge will be compiled, analyzed and presented to Neighborhood Council budget representatives and community members at a budget workshop meeting in early March 2010. Participants will be able to provide additional input on budget priorities, as well as take part in a valuable dialogue on City budget issues.

The Mayor’s Office licensed the budget challenge software from Next 10, a non-partisan, non-profit organization that in 2005 released the “California Budget Challenge” survey to engage Californians in the State budget process. Next 10 can be visited at www.nextten.org.