November 20, 2019 - This post describes the current debt service ratio in the 2019-20 fiscal year.
In addition to this report, you can find the main California's Fiscal Outlook report along with a collection of other fiscal outlook material on our fiscal outlook budget page.
February 20, 2008 - Analysis of the 2008-09 Budget Bill, Infrastructure Chapter
February 5, 2007 - Our office recently issued Implementing the 2006 Bond Package, aimed at helping the Legislature in overseeing the spending of the $43 billion in bond funds just approved by the voters. This report is intended to complement the report on the 2006 bond package. It answers basic questions about the state’s use of bonds to finance its infrastructure.review infrastructure
August 25, 2011 - California’s infrastructure includes a diverse array of capital facilities across many program areas. Additionally, the state provides funding for local public infrastructure such as K-12 schools and local streets and roads. Over the last decade, infrastructure costs have taken up a larger share of the state’s budget, yet the state’s infrastructure demands continue to grow. In this report, we summarize the state’s infrastructure spending and provide ideas for planning and funding future infrastructure. Specifically, we recommend that the Legislature establish a more coordinated process for financing infrastructure. Throughout the report, we also highlight ways the state could manage infrastructure to reduce state costs such as prioritizing the state’s infrastructure investments to the most critical and appropriate programs, adopting strategies to reduce infrastructure demand, and identifying additional revenue to support infrastructure.
November 18, 2009 - Our forecast of California’s General Fund revenues and expenditures shows that the state must address a General Fund budget problem of $20.7 billion between now and the time the Legislature enacts a 2010–11 state budget plan. The budget problem consists of a $6.3 billion projected deficit for 2009–10 and a $14.4 billion gap between projected revenues and spending in 2010–11. Addressing this large shortfall will require painful choices—on top of the difficult choices the Legislature made earlier this year.
November 20, 2008 - The state’s struggling economy has severely reduced expected revenues. Combined with rising state expenses, we project that the state will need $27.8 billion in budget solutions over the 2008-09 and 2009-10 fiscal years. The state’s revenue collapse is so dramatic and the underlying economic factors are so weak that we forecast huge budget shortfalls through 2013-14 absent corrective action. From 2010-11 through 2013-14, we project annual shortfalls that are consistently in the range of $22 billion. Closing a projected $28 billion budget shortfall will be a monumental task. We believe the Legislature must take major ongoing actions by both reducing base spending and increasing revenues. If the Legislature has any hope of developing a fiscally responsible 2009–10 budget, it must begin laying the groundwork now.
January 6, 1994 - The Legislature faces important decisions on the bond package to be placed on the 1994 ballots. We urge the Legislature not to use an arbitrary debt-service ratio as the sole or driving factor in making decisions on bonds. The key consideration should be the tradeoff of using state revenues to pay debt service on bonds to develop infrastructure versus using these revenues to support or enhance other state programs. It is critical that the Legislature establish infrastructure priorities and target future state bonds to address these priorities.
November 14, 2007 - In order to balance the 2008–09 budget, the state will have to adopt nearly $10 billion in solutions. Addressing the state’s current budget problem is even more urgent because we forecast a continuing gap between revenues and expenditures. A plan to permanently address the state’s fiscal troubles must involve a substantial portion of ongoing solutions. This is not only because of the persistent operating deficits projected throughout the forecast, but also because of the downside risks inherent with the economy, General Fund revenue volatility, and a wide range of budgetary uncertainties. Making tough choices now will allow the state to move closer to putting its fiscal woes in the past.
January 30, 2006 - We review infrastructure proposals in the Strategic Growth Initiative related to transportation. Presented to the Assembly Transportation Committee, Hon. Jenny Oropeza, Chair
November 10, 2010 - Our forecast of California’s General Fund revenues and expenditures shows that the state must address a budget problem of $25.4 billion between now and the time the Legislature enacts a 2011‑12 state budget plan. The budget problem consists of a $6 billion projected deficit for 2010‑11 and a $19 billion gap between projected revenues and spending in 2011‑12. Similar to our forecast of one year ago, we project annual budget problems of about $20 billion each year through 2015‑16. We continue to recommend that the Legislature initiate a multiyear approach to solving California’s recurring structural budget deficit. In 2011‑12, such an approach might involve $10 billion of permanent revenue and expenditure actions and $15 billion of temporary budget solutions. In 2012‑13, 2013‑14, and 2014‑15, another few billion of permanent actions each year could be initiated, along with other temporary budget solutions, and so on until the structural deficit was eliminated.
November 19, 2014 - The 20th annual edition of the LAO's Fiscal Outlook—a look at possible state revenue and spending trends over the next five years—reflects anticipated progress in building budget reserves under the recently approved Proposition 2. Specifically, absent new budget commitments, we estimate the state would end 2015-16 with $4.2 billion in total reserves, $2 billion of which would result from Proposition 2's new reserve rules. A $4 billion reserve would mark significant progress for the state, but maintaining such a reserve in 2015-16 would mean little or no new spending commitments outside of Proposition 98, the funding formula for schools and community colleges. Our higher General Fund revenue estimates translate to $6.4 billion available in 2015-16 for the state's Proposition 98 priorities. The report also discusses choices facing the state in implementing Proposition 2, such as choices about which budgetary and retirement debts to repay with dedicated Proposition 2 funds over the next 15 years.
November 20, 2013 - The 19th annual edition of the LAO's Fiscal Outlook--a forecast of California's state General Fund revenues and expenditures over the next six years--reflects continued improvement in the state's finances. A restrained budget for 2013-14, combined with our updated forecast of increased state revenues, has produced a promising budget situation for 2014-15. Our forecast indicates that, absent any changes to current laws and policies, the state would end 2014-15 with a multibillion-dollar reserve. Continued caution is needed, however, given that these surpluses are dependent on a number of assumptions that may not come to pass. For example, as we discuss in this report, an economic downturn within the next few years could quickly result in a return to operating deficits. In this report, we outline a strategic approach for allocating potential surpluses that prepares for the next economic downturn while paying for past commitments, maintaining existing programs, and making new budgetary commitments incrementally to address other public priorities.
November 18, 2015 - California's state budget is better prepared for an economic downturn than it has been at any point in decades. Under the main economic scenario in this year's LAO Fiscal Outlook, 2016-17 would end with reserves of $11.5 billion, assuming the state makes no new budget commitments through next year. If the economy continues to grow through 2019-20, annual operating surpluses and larger reserves could materialize, and there may be capacity for some new budget commitments—whether spending increases or tax reductions. An economic or stock market downturn, however, could occur during our outlook period. To illustrate this economic uncertainty, we provide projections under alternative scenarios such as a hypothetical recession that causes budget deficits to re-emerge. The more new budget commitments are made in 2016-17, the more likely it is that the state would face difficult choices—such as spending cuts and tax increases—later.