Ann Hollingshead
(916) 319-8305
State Budget and Federal Funding
Carolyn Chu
(916) 319-8326
Chief Deputy Legislative Analyst


State Budget Condition

To browse all LAO publications, visit our Publications page.


LAO Recommended Legislation

December 6, 2004 - The role of the Legislative Analyst's Office is to review state programs and make recommendations to the Legislature as to how the state can operate more effectively and efficiently. While most of our recommendations can be addressed in the annual budget bill, some involve recommended changes in law that require separate legislation. This report summarizes various changes to law that we have recommended in recent years.


California's Fiscal Outlook: LAO Projections, 2004-05 Through 2009-10

November 17, 2004 - According to our projections, the state is facing a year-end shortfall of $6.7 billion in 2005-06. Over the longer term, absent corrective actions, the state faces persistent annual current-law operating deficits that peak at nearly $10 billion in 2006-07, before narrowing somewhat in subsequent years.


California Spending Plan 2004-05: The Budget Act and Related Legislation

September 22, 2004 - The state spending plan for 2004-05 includes total expenditures from all funds of $105.4 billion. This total includes budgetary spending of $102.4 billion, reflecting $78.7 billion from the General Fund and $23.7 billion from special funds. In addition, spending from selected bond funds totals $3 billion. The 2004-05 budget includes significant ongoing savings and it makes some progress toward resolving the state's ongoing structural budget shortfall. Nevertheless, like the two prior budgets, the current spending plan (1) contains a significant number of one-time or limited-term solutions and (2) obligates additional spending in future years. The combination of these factors suggests that state will continue to face out-year budget shortfalls, absent corrective action.


An Initial Assessment of the California Performance Review

August 27, 2004 - On August 3, 2004, the California Performance Review (CPR) released its report on reforming California's state government, with the aim of making it more efficient and more responsive to its citizens. This report provides our initial comments on the CPR report. Specifically, we: (1) provide an overview of its reorganization framework and other individual recommendations, (2) discuss the savings it assumes from its major proposals, and (3) raise key issues and considerations relating to CPR's various proposals.


Supplemental Report of the 2004 Budget Act: 2004-05 Fiscal Year

August 5, 2004 - Statements of intent for requests for studies adopted by the Legislature as a supplement to the 2004 Budget Act.


The 2004-05 Budget Bill, SB 1113, as Amended

July 28, 2004 - A summary of the 2004-05 Budget Bill (SB 1113, as amended) considered by the Assembly on July 28, 2004.


Major Features of the 2004 California Budget (Not Published in 2004)

July 7, 2004 - We did not publish a Major Features report in 2004. The links above will open instead the California Spending Plan, 2004-05, published in September, 2004, which provides similar information in more detail.


Overview of the 2004-05 May Revision

May 17, 2004 - The state's near-term fiscal picture has improved significantly as a result of an improved revenue outlook and the one-time receipt of funds. Despite this improvement, the state's long-term fiscal outlook relative to the January budget plan has worsened. The May Revision plan misses an opportunity to make further progress toward eliminating the state's long-term structural imbalance.


The State's Budget Situation

March 19, 2004 - Presented to San Mateo Town Hall on March 18, 2004.


Seventh Annual Analysis Quiz

March 17, 2004 - The annual quiz that tests your knowledge of our 1400 page Analysis of the Budget Bill and Perspectives and Issues.


Highlights of the 2004-05 Analysis and Perspectives and Issues

February 18, 2004 - Highlights of our examination of the 2004-05 Governor's Budget.


Additional Options for Addressing the State’s Fiscal Problem

February 18, 2004 - In this piece, we present options for the Legislature's consideration. We have identified expenditures that may be considered of lower priority in tough budget times. It is not that these activities are without merit or not desirable. In better fiscal times we would not necessarily put such options on the table. However, we offer them in the context of a need to solve a massive budget shortfall. We have also identified selected revenue options for the Legislature's consideration. These options generally involve tax expenditure programs which are either inefficient at achieving their objectives or are not the most efficient means of doing so.


Deficiencies: Rethinking How to Address Unexpected Expenses

February 18, 2004 - The Constitution gives the Legislature the power to appropriate funds. In order to address unexpected expenses (or "deficiencies") that arise during a fiscal year, the Legislature provides the administration with limited authority to spend at higher rates than foreseen in the budget act. The use of this deficiency process, however, has a history of problems—from being used to establish new programs with no statutory authority to serving as an alternative to the normal state budget process. Given this history, we outline a framework for legislative consideration which identifies a new approach to meet unexpected expenses. In our view, this framework would continue to allow necessary adjustments, while better protecting the appropriation authority of the Legislature.


The 2004-05 Budget: Perspectives and Issues

February 18, 2004 - Perspectives on the state's fiscal condition and the budget proposed by the Governor for 2004-05.


State Fiscal Picture 2004-05

February 18, 2004 - The basic budget problem currently facing the state involves an unfunded gap of slightly over $17 billion. Most of this—$15 billion—represents an ongoing projected structural imbalance between current-law revenues and expenditures in 2004-05 and beyond. A key element of the Governor's plan is the assumed approval of a $15 billion economic recovery bond on the March 2004 statewide ballot to pay off the accumulated 2002-03 budget deficit and help address the remaining budget shortfall. Our own evaluation of the proposal indicates that even if all of its elements were adopted, 2004-05 would end with a General Fund deficit of $0.8 billion. We further project that an ongoing General Fund structural deficit of close to $7 billion would exist beyond the budget year, absent corrective action.