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For Immediate Release

Contact

Jo Comerford, NPP, 413-559-1649
Aimee Allison, RootsAction, 510-730-1190
David Elliot, USAction, 202-607-7036

Press Release

New Online Tool Lets Taxpayers Tell Congress How to Write a Responsible Budget

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. -

A new tool unveiled today by the National Priorities Project, RootsAction and USAction shows that building a better federal budget is so easy, anyone can do it.

At www.buildabetterbudget.org, users get to make real decisions on categories of federal spending like job creation, social services and national defense. There are also options to increase or decrease revenue - by ending or extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy - and to reform earned benefit programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, or leave these programs intact for future generations.

Among the goals of www.buildabetterbudget.org are demystifying the budget process for Americans, letting people see the real-world impact of policy and ideological decisions and empowering them to weigh in on the budget process as the supercommittee carries out its work over the next eight weeks.

"Many people don't know where or how their federal tax dollars are spent," said Jo Comerford, executive director of the National Priorities Project. "This tool engages and informs taxpayers, empowering them to influence the drafting of our nation's budget."

Each visitor to the web site can draft his or her unique budget, and is encouraged to share their budget with Congress and with friends online. Congress will need to pass a new budget before the end of the year, or enact another continuing resolution to keep the government operating. And looming over the entire debate is the work of the supercommittee, which must conclude its work before Thanksgiving.

"Build a Better Budget isn't hard. It's about priorities," said Aimee Allison, co-executive director, RootsAction. "This tool uses real budget options based on the current federal budget and proposals in Congress to let you make your own choices about what to cut and how to spend."

All choices offered at www.buildabetterbudget.org are drawn from government-scored functions in the current budget and alternatives offered by House Republicans or the Congressional Progressive Caucus. So the budgets users create aren't just thought experiments, but real options that Congress could vote on today.

"The federal budget is a moral document, and in the next few months, Congress will make fundamental decisions about what investments we will make together, as a society," said Alan Charney, USAction director of strategy and policy. "Build a Better Budget will help Americans from diverse backgrounds inform Congress how to best invest in our people, expand opportunity and provide security for our families, our communities and our country.

###

The National Priorities Project (NPP) is a 501(c)(3) research organization
that analyzes and clarifies federal data so that people can understand
and influence how their tax dollars are spent.  Located in
Northampton, MA, since 1983, NPP focuses on the impact of federal
spending and other policies at the national, state, congressional
district and local levels.  For more information, go to
http://nationalpriorities.org.

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