The Budget program seeks to engage and educate citizens on the tradeoffs and impacts that must be considered in the budget development process. The cornerstone of Next 10’s Budget Program is the interactive online tool, the California Budget Challenge. Started in 2005, the Challenge has been completed by over half of a million people and is updated annually to reflect the changing priorities and challenges in the development of California’s state budget. In addition to the online tool, Next 10 also regularly hosts interactive events across the state for legislators, nonprofits, and school groups and provides resources to help individuals or organizations host their own interactive California Budget Challenge events. Cities, municipalities, nonprofit organizations and educational institutions have also worked with Next 10 to modify our Budget Challenge platform for local budget education and engagement via licensed use.
California Budget Challenge 2019
The state has a new Governor and a large budget surplus of over $22 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2019-20 due to higher-than-expected revenues and continued economic growth. Governor Newsom’s first proposed budget dedicates about half of the surplus to paying down the state’s liabilities and building up reserves.
When the fiscal year began on July 1, 2019, the nation had experienced 10 straight years of economic expansion—matching the longest economic expansion since WWII. By the end of FY 2019-20, California’s Rainy Day Fund will total $16.5 billion under status quo, with an additional $900 million in the Safety Net Reserve fund, which can be used to pay for MediCal and CalWORKs in the event of a budget deficit. The challenge continues to have shifted from mitigating deep program cuts and tax increases to making choices around the priorities that will keep California moving forward in a positive direction.