State Budget


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.


  • In early January 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. CFT members and lobbyists advocate on behalf of education expenditures. 
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  • The May Revision is the next milestone. The governor can refine earlier ideas and revise his January proposals based on updated revenue projections. Committees continue to meet in the Assembly and Senate to discuss the proposals.
  • By June 15, the Legislature must send its budget to the governor. And thanks to voters who passed CFT-sponsored Proposition 25 in 2010, the Legislature can now pass the budget with a simple majority vote. Until then, the two-thirds vote required caused disastrous delays in funding. Prop 25 helps ensure the budget is on-time and not delayed.
  • Once the governor receives the Legislature’s budget, he has the opportunity to exercise line-item vetoes, but he cannot add more appropriations.
  • By June 30, the governor must sign the final budget.


The Budget Process: A Citizen’s Guide to Participation is prepared by the California Senate and provides the definitive overview of the budget process. 


The CFT Research Department analyzes the state budget and the impact it will have on education, from early childhood to university. The Research Briefs span the timeline of budget process, from the governor’s January proposals to the adopted and signed budget.