June 16, 2010; Source: Los Angeles Times | In California, a nonprofit named Next 10 is inviting people to try their hands at balancing the troubled state budget online. The exercise is part of Next 10’s attempt to familiarize California residents with the components of the budget so that they can engage with the dialogue about it in more informed ways. This is a great role for our sector—promoting critical and educated civic engagement in one of the core processes of government. And it is great timing because the budget is very much on the minds of the public. California is looking at a projected budget deficit of approximately $19 billion and a state budget that was constitutionally required to be passed by midnight on June 15 but is late for the 23rd time in 24 years.—Ruth McCambridge