Citizen Budget Work


Few public decisions have a greater effect on people’s everyday lives than public budget issues. It is through public budgets that governments decide what kind of education they will provide to their children, what health care to their people, and how they will seek to bridge the gap between rich and poor with public welfare and other programs. Nevertheless, few public matters are shrouded in as much mystery and technical jargon.

For nearly two decades the Democracy Center has been working to help citizens around the world to build up their understanding of budget and tax issues and to become actively involved in shaping public policy on those issues. In 1994 The Democracy Center founded The California Budget Project to give citizens, the media, and policy makers in our home state progressive and solid analysis of state budget issues. The Democracy Center has also worked in close collaboration with the International Budget Partnership since 2000, building that same capacity for citizen budget work worldwide. This work is especially aimed at poor countries and at the challenge of making the needs of the poor the first priority for budget policy.

Here are some of the resources the Democracy Center has produced on Citizen Budget Work:

Taxes And Budgets: Following The Money – Chapter from The Democracy Owners Manual by Jim Shultz: From the Democracy Center’s award-winning citizen action guide, an accessible analysis of public budget and tax issues for advocates.

Promises To Keep: Using Public Budgets As A Tool To Advance Economic, Social And Cultural Rights (2002): Reflections and strategies based on a three-day dialogue between international human rights and budget activists, convened in Cuernavaca Mexico in January 2002. Sponsored by the Ford Foundation. El informe completo en Español

Following The Money: Lessons From Civil Society Budget Work And How They Might Be Applied To The Challenge Of Monitoring Oil And Gas Revenues (2004): Reflections and strategies based on a dialogue between international budget activists and groups monitoring extractive industry revenue, convened in Budapest in April 2002. Sponsored by the Open Society Institute.

Invisible Hands: Tracing the Connections Between the Policies of International Financial Institutions and Country Budget Policies (2006): Analysis and recommendations from an international gathering of citizen budget activists and campaigners on globalization issues.



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