California Budget ChallengeAbout Next 10Budget Overview

How Will You Balance California's Budget?

The longest economic expansion in the state's history has ended with the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic recession, so tough choices will need to be made to mitigate a large deficit in 2020-21. How can the state maintain a balanced budget without drastic cuts to important programs, such as education, social safety net, homelessness, and healthcare? Do taxes need to be raised to maintain funding for key programs?

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What is The Challenge?

A nonpartisan budget simulation in which users select spending and revenue options in order to create their own versions of the state budget and learn about the trade-offs lawmakers are faced with when crafting the budget.

Budget Challenge Overview
The Current Situation

On May 14, 2020, the Governor released his anticipated update to his proposed budget (called the May Revision) as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic recession. Absent any changes, the Governor forecasts a $40.9 billion budget deficit for the fiscal year 2020-21. The Governor and Legislature must agree on the budget by June 15, 2020, and further cuts may be required once the state receives all tax receipts by July 15th (tax filing deadline delayed from April 15th as a result of the pandemic).

Current Situation
How Does It Work?

Users are presented with spending options first, followed by revenue and reserve options. Choose the option you think is best and see how it impacts the starting surplus or deficit. The goal is to finish the Budget Challenge with either a balanced budget or surplus, and additional background information is available for each category.

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