Online simulation lets Californians tweak budget

Gov. Jerry Brown points to a chart showing an increase in education funding during a news conference where he unveiled his proposed 2013-14 state budget at the Capitol in January.
(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

SACRAMENTO -- For eight years, a San Francisco-based nonprofit called Next 10 has created an online simulation where users can try to balance California’s budget.

This year’s version may be the easiest one yet.

“This is the first year in many years where we’re not starting out with a huge deficit,” said F. Noel Perry, the venture capitalist who founded Next 10. The organization, entering its 10th year, examines financial, economic and environmental issues in California.


Gov. Jerry Brown says the state’s deficit has been wiped out and the state will see surpluses in the coming years.

However, the state still faces a heavy debt load and rising bills for retirement benefits.

Next 10’s simulation is intended as an educational tool, showing Californians how various decisions about education, healthcare and taxes can affect the state’s financial health.

“Budgets reflect values,” Perry said. “How we decide to use our scarce resources is really important.”


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Twitter: @chrismegerian