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The 2019-20 May Revision: LAO Economic Outlook


The 2018-19 May Revision: LAO Economic Outlook

May 12, 2018 - In this report, we discuss our new economic outlook for the state, released as part of our response to the Governor's 2018-19 May Revision.


Perspectives on the Economy and Demographics 1996-97

February 21, 1996 - Perspectives on the Economy and Demographics 1996-97


Perspectives on the Economy 1995-96

February 22, 1995 - Text only


[PDF] The 2023-24 Budget: California's Fiscal Outlook

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.


[PDF] The 2012-13 Budget: Economic and Revenue Update

February 27, 2012 - There are plenty of mixed signals in economic data for California’s policymakers, as they continue to craft state and local budgets in a constrained fiscal environment. The economy now is clearly improving in many important ways, including employment growth, but significant impediments block the state’s path to a more robust economic recovery. Like the economic data, reports concerning state revenues have been mixed recently too, with weakness in income tax payments accompanied by speculation concerning a future bonanza of tax revenues due to the possible offering of stock by Facebook, Inc. This report provides our updated projections concerning these and other trends in the economy and state revenues.


[PDF] Perspectives on the Economy and Demographics 2000-01

February 17, 2000 - Perspectives on the Economy and Demographics 2000-01


COVID-19 and California’s Evolving Fiscal Outlook

March 18, 2020 - In this installment of Fiscal Perspectives, Legislative Analyst Gabriel Petek offers some initial observations on the recent volatility in financial markets, palpably sharp reduction in economic activity, and the state’s fiscal position at the outset of the COVID-19 outbreak.


The 2019-20 Budget: California's Fiscal Outlook

November 14, 2018 - The budget is in remarkably good shape. Under our estimates of revenues and spending, the state’s constitutional reserve would reach $14.5 billion by the end of 2019-20. In addition, we project the Legislature will have nearly $15 billion in resources available to allocate in the 2019-20 budget process. The Legislature can use these funds to build more reserves or make new one-time and/or ongoing budget commitments.

The longer-term outlook for the state also is positive. Under our economic growth scenario, the state would have operating surpluses averaging around $4.5 billion per year (but declining over time). Under our recession scenario, the state would have enough reserves to cover a budget problem—provided the Legislature used all of the available resources in 2019-20 to build more reserves.

Along with the Fiscal Outlook, you can find a collection of other fiscal outlook material on our fiscal outlook budget page.


New Inflation Poses Not So New Budget Risk

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.


LAO Multiyear State Budget Outlook

May 20, 2016 - This online post is our office’s multiyear outlook for California’s General Fund through 2019-20 based on current state law and policies, as modified by the Governor’s May Revision proposals. This is part of our response to the Governor’s 2016-17 May Revision. Our outlook estimates the state will end 2016-17 with $8.7 billion in total reserves. Over our outlook period, and assuming continued economic growth, we estimate the state’s budget has the capacity to pay for the Governor’s May Revision proposals over the period. After 2016-17, the state would have a few billion dollars available each year to build reserves or make additional commitments. Despite these budgetary surpluses, compared to other recent similar analyses, our outlook shows much smaller budget surpluses. Surpluses have declined largely as a result of new spending commitments by the state, including the increased state minimum wage. As a result, the state’s budget is now more vulnerable to a future economic downturn than it was last year. For this reason, we suggest the Legislature aim to pass a state budget with a robust level of total reserves this year.


Perspectives on the Economy and Demographics 2007-08

February 21, 2007 - For 2007, like most other economists at this time, we forecast that growth will continue but be modest for the nation and California. For the year as whole, 2007 growth will be somewhat less than it was in 2006, with the first half of the year the weakest. Throughout the year, however, growth should accelerate, as the housing sector stabilizes, especially in the second half of 2007. We expect that the state’s performance will generally be similar to the nation’s.


[PDF] The 2020-21 Budget: The Fiscal Outlook for Schools and Community Colleges

November 20, 2019 - This report examines how the Proposition 98 minimum guarantee might change over the coming years. The report has five parts. First, we explain the formulas that determine the minimum guarantee. We then explain how our estimates of Proposition 98 funding in 2018‑19 and 2019‑20 differ from the estimates included in the June 2019 budget plan. Next, we estimate the 2020‑21 guarantee. Fourth, we explain how the minimum guarantee could change through 2023‑24 under two possible economic scenarios. Finally, we identify the amount of funding that would be available for new spending commitments in the upcoming year and describe some issues for the Legislature to consider as it prepares to allocate this funding.

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.