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December 15, 2022 - Persistent high inflation presents federal and state policymakers with an economic problem not seen in roughly four decades. In fact, during much of the past 15-year period, inflation not only was subdued, it consistently ran below the Federal Reserve’s (the Fed’s) target of 2 percent. Chronically below-target inflation eventually prompted the Fed in August 2020 to adjust its policy framework to combat this tendency. Not long after, however, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, inflation trends and the Fed’s orientation to them began to reverse. Once it emerged, inflation accelerated throughout 2021 and has remained elevated this year with as yet indeterminate signs of abating.
November 29, 2022 - Presented to: Senate Committee on Elections and Constitutional Amendments
November 16, 2022 - Each year, the state calculates a “minimum guarantee” for school and community college funding based upon a set of formulas established by Proposition 98 (1988). Based upon recent signs of weakness in the economy, we estimate the guarantee in 2023‑24 is $2.2 billion (2 percent) below the 2022‑23 enacted budget level. Despite this drop, $7.6 billion would be available to provide increases for school and community college programs. In 2023‑24, the available funding could cover a cost‑of‑living adjustment (COLA) of up to 8.38 percent, which is slightly below our estimate of the statutory rate (8.73 percent). Over the next several years, growth in the guarantee and required reserve withdrawals would be just enough to cover the statutory COLA. Given this relatively precarious balance, we outline a few ways the Legislature could create a larger cushion to protect against revenue declines in the future.
November 16, 2022 - Our annual Fiscal Outlook publication gives our office’s independent assessment of the California state budget condition for the upcoming fiscal year and over the longer term. In this report, we anticipate the state will have a $24 billion budget problem to solve in the upcoming fiscal year and operating deficits declining from $17 billion to $8 billion over the multiyear period. The goal of this report is to help the Legislature begin crafting the 2023‑24 budget. Our analysis relies on specific assumptions about the future of the state economy, its revenues, and its expenditures. Consequently, our estimates are not definitive, but rather reflect our best guidance to the Legislature based on our professional assessments as of November 2022.
Update (11/22/22): The original version of this report identified a $25 billion—instead of a $24 billion—budget problem, which reflected an error in the way we accounted for student housing grant program funding.
November 16, 2022 - Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 2 on Education Finance
November 15, 2022 - Presented to: Assembly Committee on Labor and Employment
November 14, 2022 - In this report, we (1) summarize trends in wildfires and associated smoke; (2) review research on the health and other effects of wildfire smoke, including on vulnerable groups; (3) discuss local, state, and federal roles and responsibilities related to smoke, as well as actions that the state currently is undertaking to address it; and (4) provide some guidance to the Legislature as it formulates its approach to addressing smoke in the coming years.
October 27, 2022 - This post summarizes the state’s 2022-23 spending package for child care and preschool. It is part of our Spending Plan series, which contains posts focused on each major sector of the state budget.
October 27, 2022 - Presented to: Assembly Select Committee on Native American Affairs
October 24, 2022 - This post summarizes overall spending in the 2022-23 budget package for health programs. It is part of our Spending Plan series, which contains posts focused on each major sector of the state budget.
October 24, 2022 - This post summarizes overall Proposition 98 funding and K-12 education spending in the 2022-23 budget package. It is part of our Spending Plan series, which contains posts focused on each major sector of the state budget.
October 21, 2022 - The 2022-23 spending plan provides over $25 billion from the General Fund for human services programs. This is an increase of over $4 billion, or 19 percent, compared to the revised, prior-year spending level.