State Budget

Overview Jane Hundertmark

How the State Budget Process Works

The California budget is created from a multi-faceted process that takes place in the first half of each calendar year. CFT is an active participant in the process because public school and community college districts receive two-thirds of their funding from the state, and decisions made by state legislators set the stage for those made by district governing boards.

The process begins in January when the governor proposes a budget. In February, the Legislative Analyst examines the proposals and issues a report. Budget committees meet in the California Assembly and Senate to discuss the proposals.

The next milestone in the budget sequence is the May Revision, in which the governor can revise the January proposals with updated revenue projections and refinements of earlier proposals.

Committees continue to meet in the Assembly and Senate to discuss the budget proposals; the Legislature must send its budget to the governor by June 15. The Legislature no longer requires an outdated two-thirds vote to pass the budget, and instead requires a simple majority vote — thanks to voters who passed CFT-sponsored Proposition 25 in 2010. Prop. 25 also helps ensure the budget is on-time and not delayed.

Once the governor receives the Legislature’s budget, the governor has the opportunity to exercise line-item vetoes, but cannot add any additional appropriations. The governor must sign the final budget by June 30.

CFT Research Department issues helpful Budget Briefs

The CFT Research Department analyzes the state budget and the impact it will have on education, from early childhood to university. The Research Briefs cover the entire budget process, from the governor’s initial proposals in January, to the May Revision and the final budget passed by the California Legislature and signed by the governor. The analyses are listed below by year and date, with the most recent on top.