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Every year, California’s 58 counties adopt local budgets that provide a framework and funding for critical public services and systems — from health care and safety net services to elections and the justice system.

But county budgets are about more than dollars and cents.

A county budget expresses our values and priorities as residents of that county and as Californians. At its best, a county budget should reflect our collective efforts to expand opportunities, promote well-being, and improve the lives of Californians who are denied the chance to share in our state’s wealth and who deserve the dignity and support to lead thriving lives.

Because county budgets touch so many services and our everyday lives, it is critical for Californians to understand and participate in the annual county budget process to ensure that county leaders are making the strategic choices needed to allow every Californian — from different races, backgrounds, and places — to thrive and share in our state’s economic and social life.

This guide sheds light on county budgets and the county budget process with the goal of giving Californians the tools they need to effectively engage local decision-makers and advocate for fair and just
policy choices.

Key Takeaways

the bottom line

  1. County budgets are about more than dollars and cents.
    • Crafting the annual spending plan provides an opportunity for county residents to express their values and priorities.
  2. County and state budgets are inherently intertwined because counties are legal subdivisions of California and perform functions as agents of the state.
    • To a large degree, county budgets reflect funding and policy choices made by the governor and the Legislature as well as by federal policymakers.
    • However, county budgets also reflect local choices, as counties allocate their limited “discretionary” dollars to local priorities.
  3. Counties’ ability to raise revenue to support local services is constrained.
    • For example, counties cannot increase the property tax rate to boost support for county-provided services.
    • Counties may increase other taxes to establish or improve local services, but only with voter approval.
  4. Both state law and local practices shape the county budget process.
    • State law establishes minimum guidelines that counties must adhere to in developing their budgets.
    • Counties can — and often do — exceed these state guidelines in crafting their budgets and sharing them with the public.
  5. The county budget process is cyclical, with decisions made throughout the year.
    • The public has various opportunities for input during the budget process.
    • This includes writing letters of support or opposition, testifying at budget hearings, and meeting with supervisors, the county manager, and other county officials.
    • In short, Californians have the opportunity to stay engaged and involved in their county’s budget process year-round.

California’s Counties: The Basics

California Has 58 Counties That Vary Widely In Population and Size

California’s counties range widely in population.

  • 10 counties have more than 1 million residents, and 21 counties have fewer than 100,000 residents.
  • Los Angeles County has the largest population of any county in the state (9.9 million).
  • Alpine County has the smallest population (less than 1,200).

California’s counties also differ considerably in size.

  • San Bernardino is California’s largest county (20,057 square miles).
  • San Francisco — which has the state’s only consolidated city and county government — is the smallest county (47 square miles).

California’s Counties Are Legal Subdivisions of the State

California’s Constitution requires the state to be divided into counties. Counties’ powers are provided by the state Constitution or by the Legislature.

  • The Legislature may take back any authority or functions that it delegates to the counties.

There are 44 general-law counties and 14 charter counties.

  • Unlike general-law counties, charter counties have a limited degree of independent authority over certain rules that pertain to county officers. However, charter counties lack any extra authority with respect to budgets, revenue increases, and local regulations.

Counties Have Multiple Roles in Delivering Public Services

Other Types of Local Agencies Also Deliver Public Services

Counties provide public services alongside other agencies that operate at the local level. A wide array of local services are delivered by:

  • More than 2,000 independent special districts, which provide specialized services such as fire protection, water, or parks.
  • More than 900 K-12 school districts, which are responsible for thousands of public schools.
  • More than 480 cities, which provide policing, fire protection, and other municipal services.
  • More than 70 community college districts, which oversee 113 community colleges.

Counties Are Governed By an Elected Board of Supervisors

The Board of Supervisors consists of five members in all but one county.

  • The City and County of San Francisco has an 11-member Board and an independently elected mayor.

Because counties do not have an elected chief executive (except for San Francisco), the Board’s role encompasses both executive and legislative functions.

  • These functions include setting priorities, approving the budget, controlling county property, and passing local laws.

Boards also have a quasi-judicial role.

  • For example, Boards may settle claims and hear appeals of land-use and tax-related issues.

A Number of Other County Officers Also Are Elected

Along with an elected Board of Supervisors, the state Constitution requires counties to elect:

  • An assessor.
  • A district attorney.
  • A sheriff.

Although not required by the state Constitution, a few other key county offices are typically filled by election, rather than by Board appointment. These include:

  • The auditor-controller.
  • The county clerk.
  • The treasure-tax collector.

The County Manager Oversees the Daily Operations of the County Government

The top administrator in each county is appointed by the Board of Supervisors.

  • Counties have various titles for this position. This guide uses the generic term “county manager.”
  • San Francisco, with an independently elected mayor, does not have a county manager position.

The county manager:

  • Prepares the annual budget for the Board’s consideration.
  • Coordinates the activities of county departments.
  • Provides analyses and recommendations to the Board.
  • May hire and fire department heads, if authorized to do so.
  • May represent the Board in labor negotiations.

Key Facts About County Revenues and Spending

County Budgets Reflect State and Federal Policy Priorities and Local Policy Choices

To a large degree, county budgets reflect state and federal policy and funding priorities.

  • As agents of the state, counties provide an array of services that are supported with state and federal dollars and governed by state and federal rules.
  • This means that a large share of any county budget will reflect priorities that are set in Sacramento and in Washington, DC.

County budgets also reflect the policy and funding priorities of local residents and policymakers.

  • Counties can use a portion of their locally generated revenues to fund key local services and improvements.

County Revenues = State Funds + Federal Funds + Local Funds

County revenues consist of state and federal dollars along with locally generated

  • State and federal revenues pay for health and human services, roads, transit, and other services.
  • Local revenues, particularly property tax dollars, are important because they are mostly “discretionary” and can be spent on various local priorities.

In 2019-20, more than half of county revenues statewide came from the state government, the federal government, and local property taxes.

County Budgets Support a Broad Range of Public Services and Systems

In 2019-20, nearly half of all county spending across the state funded the local justice system or public assistance.

  • The local justice system includes the district attorney, adult and youth detention, policing provided by the sheriff’s department, and probation.
  • Public assistance includes spending on cash aid for Californians with low incomes, including families with children in the CalWORKs welfare-to-work program.

Large shares of county spending in 2019-20 also supported either 1) public ways and facilities, health, and sanitation (18.2%) or 2) enterprise activities (15.5%), which include airports, hospitals, and golf courses.

The State Rules That Determine Counties’ Revenue-Raising Authority

State Rules Establish Counties’ Authority to Raise Revenue

Counties can levy a number of taxes and other charges to fund public services and systems.

  • The rules that allow counties to create, increase, or extend various charges are found in state law — as determined by the Legislature — as well as in the state Constitution.

Statewide ballot measures approved by voters since the late 1970s have constrained counties’ ability to raise revenues.

  • These measures are Proposition 13 (1978), Prop. 62 (1986), Prop. 218 (1996), and Prop. 26 (2010).

Counties Can Increase the Property Tax Rate Solely to Pay for Voter-Approved Debt

Prop. 13 (1978) limits the countywide property tax rate to 1% of a property’s assessed value.

  • Each county collects revenues raised by this 1% rate and allocates them to the county government, cities, and other local jurisdictions based on complex formulas.
  • Revenues from the 1% rate may be used for any purpose.

Local jurisdictions may increase the 1% rate to pay for voter-approved debt, but not to increase revenues for services or general operating expenses.

  • Most voter-approved debt rates are used to repay bonds issued for local infrastructure projects.
  • At the county level, bonds must be approved by a two-thirds vote of both the Board of Supervisors and the voters.

Counties Can Raise Other Taxes, But Only With Voter Approval

In contrast to counties’ limited authority over property taxes, counties may levy a broad range of other taxes to support local services. These include taxes on:

  • Retail sales.
  • Short-term lodgings.
  • Businesses.
  • Property transfers.
  • Parcels of property.

However, county proposals to increase taxes generally must be approved by local voters. These voter-approval requirements vary depending on whether the proposal is a “general” tax or a “special” tax.

Counties Also Can Levy Charges That Are Not Defined as “Taxes”

In addition to taxes, counties can establish, increase, or extend other charges to support local services. These are:

  • Charges for services or benefits that are granted exclusively to the payer, provided that such charges do not exceed the county’s reasonable costs.
  • Charges to offset reasonable regulatory costs.
  • Charges for the use of government property.
  • Charges related to property development.
  • Certain property assessments and property-related fees.
  • Fines and penalties

The state Constitution, as amended by Prop. 26 (2010), specifically excludes these charges from the definition of a “tax.”

Charges that are not defined as “taxes” can be created, increased, or extended by a simple majority vote of the Board of Supervisors. A countywide vote is not required.

However, Prop. 218 (1996) does require the Board of Supervisors to consult property owners regarding two types of charges.

  • Property assessments, which pay for specific services or improvements, must be approved by at least half of the ballots cast by affected property owners, with ballots weighted according to each owner’s assessment liability.
  • Property-related fees — except for water, sewer, and garbage pick-up fees — must be approved by 1) a majority of affected property owners or 2) at least two-thirds of all voters who live in the area.

The County Budget Process: State Rules and Local Practices

State Law Shapes the County Budget Process

Counties develop and adopt their annual budgets according to rules outlined in state law.

  • Rules pertaining specifically to county budgets are found in the County Budget Act (Government Code, Sections 29000 to 29144).
  • The Ralph M. Brown Act (Government Code, Sections 54950 to 54963) includes additional rules that county officials must follow when discussing official county business.

State law delineates:

  • The process by which county budgets must be developed and shared with the public and the information that must be included in these budgets.

Local Practices Also Shape the County Budget Process

Counties have some discretion in how they craft their annual spending plans.

  • For example, the Board of Supervisors may hold more public hearings than state law requires and/or convene informal public budget workshops. Some counties also begin developing their budgets earlier than others do.

Counties have some leeway in how they structure their budgets and share them
with the public.

  • County budgets may include more information and provide a higher level of detail than the state requires.
  • Counties may make their spending plans and other budget-related materials widely accessible to the public in multiple formats, including online.

Three Versions of Annual County Budget

At all stages, the county budget must be balanced (funding sources must equal financing uses).

The Recommended Budget is the county manager’s proposed spending for the next fiscal year, as submitted to the Board of Supervisors.

The Adopted Budget is the budget as formally adopted by the Board by October 2 or — at county option — by June 30.

The Final Budget is the adopted budget adjusted that reflects all revisions made by the Board during the fiscal year.

Counties Must Adopt Their Budgets Using One of Two Models

State law provides two models for adopting the annual county budget.

  • One model — called the “two-step” model in this guide — requires the Board of Supervisors to first approve an interim budget by June 30 and then formally adopt the budget by October 2.
  • The other model — called the “one-step” model in this guide — allows the Board to formally adopt the budget by June 30 of each year, with no need to first approve an interim budget. This alternative process was created by Senate Bill 1315 (Bates, Chapter 56, Statutes of 2016).

Each county decides which model to follow in adopting its annual budget.

Two-Step Model (Step 1): Board Approved the Recommended Budget By June 30

The Board of Supervisors must approve — on an interim basis — the Recommended Budget, including any revisions that it deems necessary, on or before June 30.

  • The Board must consider the Recommended Budget, as proposed by the county manager, during a duly noticed public hearing.
  • The Recommended Budget must be made available for public review prior to the public hearing.
  • At this stage, the Recommended Budget is essentially a preliminary spending plan, which authorizes budget allocations for the new fiscal year (beginning on July 1) until the Board formally adopts the budget.

Two-Step Model (Step 2): Board Adopts the County Budget by October 2

The Board of Supervisors must formally adopt the county budget on or before October 2.

  • On or before September 8, the Board must publish a notice stating 1) that the Recommended Budget is available for public review and 2) when a public hearing will be held to consider it. At this stage, the budget reflects the preliminary version
    approved by the Board along with any changes proposed by the county manager.
  • The public hearing must begin at least 10 days after the Recommended Budget is made available to the public.
  • The Board must adopt a balanced budget, including any additional revisions that it deems advisable after the public hearing has concluded, but no later than October 2.

One-Step Model: Board Adopts the County Budget by June 30

The Board of Supervisors must formally adopt the county budget on or before June 30, with no need to initially approve the Recommended Budget on a preliminary basis.

  • On or before May 30, the Board must publish a notice stating that 1) the Recommended Budget (as proposed by the county manager) is available for public review and 2) when a public hearing will be held to consider it.
  • The public hearing must begin at least 10 days after the Recommended Budget is formally released to the public, but no later than June 20.
  • The Board must adopt a balanced budget, including any revisions that it deems advisable, after the public hearing has concluded, but no later than June 30.

County Budget Actions Require a Simple Majority Vote or a Supermajority Vote

State law allows the Board of Supervisors to make certain budget decisions by majority vote.

  • These include approving the Recommended Budget and/or the Adopted Budget as well as eliminating or reducing appropriations.

However, a four-fifths supermajority vote of the Board is required for a number of budget actions, including to:

  • Appropriate unanticipated revenues.
  • Appropriate revenues to address an emergency.
  • Transfer revenues between funds or from a contingency fund after the budget has been formally adopted.
  • Increase the general reserve at any point during the fiscal year.

The Timeline of the County Budget Process

The County Budget Process is Cyclical and Interacts with the State Budget Process

County budgets are developed, revised, and monitored throughout the year.

Because counties perform functions required by the state and receive significant state funding, county budgets are shaped by state budget choices.

  • County officials must take into account decisions made as part of the state’s annual budget process. Federal policy and funding decisions also affect county budgets.

The budget process varies somewhat across counties.

  • For example, counties can hold more public hearings than required, and some counties start developing their budgets earlier than others do.


How to Find Your County’s Budget

Counties generally make their budget documents available on the internet.

  • Online budget materials are typically located in a “budget and finance” section of the county’s website or the county manager’s webpage.
  • Perhaps the fastest way to find a county’s budget is by using an internet search engine and entering a phrase like “Kern County budget.”

In addition, counties make their budget documents available in county buildings and local libraries.

Additional Resources

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As we begin the 2022-23 fiscal year, state leaders have reached a “nearly final” California state budget agreement, though some details still remain to be finalized and additional budget-related bills will be acted upon in August and beyond. According to legislative summaries, the budget framework includes approximately $235 billion in General Fund spending for 2022-23, a significant increase over the 2021-22 General Fund budget of $196 billion. The agreement assumes a total reserve balance of more than $37 billion across the state’s four budget reserves: the Budget Stabilization Account, the Public School System Stabilization Account, the Special Fund for Economic Uncertainties, and the Safety Net Reserve. The framework contains actions to prevent the budget from exceeding the state’s constitutional spending cap (the “Gann Limit”) over the two-year period that ends June 30, 2022 and for the 2022-23 fiscal year.

This report highlights selected elements of the budget framework that represent significant advancements to improve the lives of Californians with low and middle incomes — including women, immigrants, and American Indian, Asian, Black, Latinx, and Pacific Islander Californians and other Californians of color. We also highlight areas where the budget framework misses opportunities and there is work still to be done by policymakers to ensure that all Californians are able to not only survive but thrive in their communities.


What’s included in the 2022-23 California state budget: The budget agreement provides one-time payments, tiered by income level, for Californians who filed a tax return for 2020. Filers will receive the following rebate amounts for themselves, their spouse if filing jointly, and up to one dependent.

  • $350 for filers with incomes below $75,000 ($150,000 for joint filers); 
  • $250 for filers with incomes between $75,000 and $125,000 ($150,000 – $250,000 for joint filers);
  • $200 for filers with incomes between $125,000 and $250,000 ($250,000 – $500,000 for joint filers).

Relative to earlier rebate proposals from the governor and legislators, the agreement would provide more support to small families with low incomes, but less support to larger families with low incomes.

State leaders can further support Californians by: expanding ongoing supports — such as the CalEITC, Young Child Tax Credit, and CalWORKs — for households with low incomes who have long struggled to afford their basic needs to help them achieve lasting economic security.

Tax Credits

What’s included in the 2022-23 California state budget: California families without work earnings who have children under age 6 will now qualify for the $1,000 Young Child Tax Credit (YCTC), and the YCTC will be adjusted annually for inflation so it keeps up with rising prices. In addition, former foster youth ages 18 to 25 who qualify for the CalEITC will be eligible for a new $1,000 Foster Youth Tax Credit modeled after the YCTC. Also, beginning on or after tax year 2024, the controller will no longer be permitted to intercept tax refunds for debt payments of Californians who receive the CalEITC or YCTC, with the exception of debt related to child or family support. This will ensure that more Californians receive the full tax refunds they are counting on. Finally, the state will provide $20 million for two years, and $10 million annually thereafter, to support community-based efforts to raise tax credit awareness and connect Californians with free tax preparation services. 

State leaders can better support Californians by: establishing a larger, more meaningful minimum CalEITC, increasing the YCTC and extending it to families with older children, and continuing to expand investments in free tax prep services.

Safety Net 

What’s included in the 2022-23 California state budget: Monthly CalWORKs grants are based on the number of eligible people in the household. Reasons for ineligibility include exceeding the time limit for assistance, not meeting work requirements, or immigration status. The budget agreement includes a two-year 21% grant increase effective October 1, 2022, raising grants above the deep poverty threshold (50% of the federal poverty line) for all cases with at least four eligible people, even where there is also an excluded member. The budget agreement also passes-through to former CalWORKs families outstanding child support debt that currently is claimed as “reimbursement” for programmatic costs. Funding is appropriated for a 100% pass-through for current CalWORKs families, subject to future legislative action for the 2024-25 fiscal year.

State leaders can further support Californians with low incomes by: ensuring that grants are above the deep poverty threshold for all CalWORKs families. Additionally, state leaders should commit to ending the work participation rate penalty for counties, an outdated racist and sexist policy that hinders helping parents address barriers.

Paid Time Off

What was not included in the 2022-23 California state budget: The final budget agreement fails to strengthen key programs that are critically necessary for workers in balancing work, their own health, and family obligations. Specifically, the final budget agreement does not update payment rates for the state’s paid family leave and disability insurance programs, leaving in place a barrier to utilizing these programs for workers paid low wages. And, despite providing tax credits for businesses to cover the expense of COVID-19 supplemental paid sick days, the budget agreement fails to extend this pandemic safeguard beyond the current sunset date of September 30, 2022. This will leave many workers with just three paid sick days per year.

State leaders can better support California workers by: ensuring all workers in California are able to take paid time off, particularly workers paid low wages who are disproportionately women, Black, and Latinx Californians. Policymakers can do this by boosting payment rates for the state’s paid family leave and disability insurance programs to ensure that workers do not face difficult choices about paying the bills or caring for themselves or family. Policymakers should also extend COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave, and, after the pandemic, require employers to provide additional paid sick days for all to maintain the health of workers and communities.

Child Care

What was included in the 2022-23 California state budget: Policymakers extended certain pandemic protections for families and subsidized child care and state preschool program providers, including the waiver of family fees and provider payments based on student enrollment, not attendance. The final budget agreement also invests $100 million in one-time federal funds for child care facilities. Finally, the 2022-23 budget provides $100 million for health care benefits for certain subsidized child care providers, but it does not update provider payment rates, leaving many struggling to keep pace with the rising statewide minimum wage and increasing price of food and supplies.

State leaders can better support California working parents, families, and communities by: providing reimbursement rates for subsidized child care providers that allow for fair and just wages that reflect the critical value of early educators’ profession. Providers, children, and working parents suffer when child care is limited in their communities because of policymakers’ lack of investment.

Rotunda California Capital building in Sacramento

See our report Dollars and Democracy: A Guide to the California State Budget Process to learn more about the state budget and budget process.


What’s included in the 2022-23 California state budget: Comprehensive Medi-Cal coverage is expanded to low-income undocumented Californians ages 26 to 49, the last group explicitly excluded from eligibility due to their immigration status and age. By January 1, 2024, all qualifying Californians will have access to comprehensive Medi-Cal coverage. This move effectively builds on previous coverage steps the state has already taken and ends the racist and exclusionary policy that blocks Californians from accessing vital health services. To provide Medi-Cal for adults age 26 and over, the state is estimated to allocate:

  • $67 million total funds ($53 million General Fund) in 2021-22 and $745 million total funds ($628 General Fund) in 2022-23 for older adults.
  • $834 million total funds ($625 million General Fund) in 2023-24 for adults age 26-49.
  • $2.6 billion total funds ($2.1 billion General Fund) in on-going out-year costs, including In-Home Supportive Services.

State leaders can further support Californians by: moving up the comprehensive Medi-Cal coverage start date. Californians who have been barred from consistent health care coverage need timely access to critical services and care to have the ability to live a healthy life.

Public Health

What’s included in the 2022-23 California state budget: $300 million ongoing General Fund to improve public health infrastructure, with about $200 million earmarked for local health jurisdictions and about $100 million for state-level operations. Under this proposal, local health jurisdictions would receive a minimum base allocation to support workforce expansion, data collection and integration, and partnerships with health care delivery systems and community-based organizations. At the state level, this funding would establish a new Office of Policy and Planning to assess current and emerging public health threats as well as support other core functions, including emergency preparedness and public health communications. This much-needed investment will strengthen public health departments’ ability to protect and promote the health and well-being of communities across the state.

State leaders can further support Californians by: establishing dedicated funding to support community-based organizations, clinics, and tribal organizations in their efforts to address health disparities and advance racial justice, given that structural racism continues to have a profound impact on communities across the state.

Health Workforce

What’s included in the 2022-23 California state budget: significant investment in the health workforce in order to increase access to timely and culturally competent care for Californians. Specifically, the budget includes $532.5 million one-time over four years to bolster the behavioral health workforce, the public health workforce, and the primary care and reproductive health workforce. The also budget includes $296.5 million in 2022-23, $370.5 million in 2023-24 and in 2024-25 for the Workforce for a Healthy California for All Program, which aims to expand the following professions:

  • Community health workers, who are trained health educators and are trusted members of the community they serve;
  • Nurses, including registered nurses and certified nurse midwives;
  • Social workers;
  • Behavioral health providers, such as psychiatrists and psychologists; and
  • Multilingual health care professionals.

State leaders can further support Californians by: promoting LGBTQ+-affirming training for health providers to better serve their communities. Policymakers can also invest in efforts to make sure that the health workforce better reflects the diversity of all Californians, including their gender identities and sexual orientations.

Reproductive Health

What’s included in the 2022-23 California state budget: over $200 million to protect and increase access to reproductive health care services, particularly in response to the Supreme Court’s recent decision to end a constitutional right to an abortion as well as states’ actions to ban or restrict access to abortion care — both of which severely undermine the health and economic security of pregnant people. Funding in the budget agreement includes:

  • $40 million to establish an uncompensated care fund for Californians with low incomes; 
  • $20 million to support abortion training for clinicians and health care professionals;
  • $20 million to establish the Los Angeles County Abortion Access Safe Haven Pilot Program; and 
  • $20 million to assist patients in overcoming barriers to abortion care.

State leaders can further support Californians by: ensuring that all Californians have access to reproductive health care, especially Californians in rural areas and those with low incomes, given the possible influx in out-of-state patients seeking health care.


What’s included in the 2022-23 California state budget: New funds in the budget agreement focus on encampments, with $300 million in 2022-23 (and $400 million in 2023-24) for local governments for encampment “resolution.” Equitable and effective use of these funds should prioritize the housing and service needs of Californians living in encampments, not just clearing streets. The budget agreement also boosts current-year investment in Homekey by $150 million, and includes intent to continue the annual $1 billion investment in flexible local funding to address homelessness for another year in 2023-24. Also included are $1 billion in 2022-23 — and $500 million in 2023-24 — for bridge housing for people  experiencing homelessness with serious mental illness, as proposed by the governor in January. Policy negotiations continue for the CARE Court proposal.

State leaders can better support Californians experiencing homelessness by: increasing flexible local funds to address local service gaps and opportunities, and providing these funds on an ongoing basis to enable long-term planning. Also boosting investment in affordable permanent housing, which is necessary to end homelessness.

California Capitol Building in Sacramento

California Budget

The California budget is the pathway to building a just and equitable state. By ensuring Californians have access to engage in meaningful conversations and strategic decisions, our budget and policies can better reflect Californians’ values and aspirations.

Affordable Housing

What’s included in the 2022-23 California state budget: There are increased funds to expand California’s supply of affordable housing, including for multi-family housing ($100 million in 2022-23 and $225 million in 2023-24), shovel-ready projects through the Housing Accelerator Program ($250 million), adaptive reuse of underutilized commercial space ($410 million over two years), and infrastructure for infill housing ($200 million in 2022-23 and $225 million in 2023-24). Significant new funds are also allocated to assist first-time homebuyers and homeowners with moderate and low incomes, through existing ($350 million over two years) and new ($500 million) programs. These programs could help address the racial wealth gap — but they are unlikely to benefit renters with the lowest incomes, who face the greatest housing affordability challenges and risk of homelessness.

State leaders can better support Californians’ housing needs by: increasing investment in affordable housing production and preservation to a scale that matches the need. A stable, affordable home is the most basic foundation for health and well-being, and addressing the severe affordable housing shortfall is vital for California’s long-term prosperity.

K-12 Education

What’s included in the 2022-23 California state budget: K-12 schools will receive significant funding increases including:

  • $7.9 billion for a one-time discretionary block grant allocated based on the percentage of enrolled students in K-12 districts who are English learners, students from low-income families, or foster youth — a more equitable method than proposed in the May Revision.
  • $7.9 billion for the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), which includes $2.8 billion for LCFF grant costs using a three-year average of average daily attendance.
  • $4 billion in ongoing funding for the Expanded Learning Opportunities Program, which provides additional learning time for students before or after school, and outside of the traditional school year. 
  • $3.6 billion for a one-time per-pupil block grant that can be used for many purposes such as arts and music.

State leaders can better support Californians by: providing additional resources to leverage the language assets of more than 40% of the state’s K-12 students who live in a home where a language other than English is spoken.

Higher Education

What’s included in the 2022-23 California state budget: The 2022-23 budget makes progress in making higher education more affordable by: 

  • Increasing total ongoing funding for the Student Success Completion Grant (SSCG) to nearly $413 million. The SSCG supports community college students by encouraging full-time enrollment. 
  • Providing an additional $227 million one time in 2023-24 for the Middle Class Scholarship, which supports students at the UCs and CSUs. 
  • Initiating reforms to the Cal Grant program to expand access to more students, but major changes to the program would not be implemented until 2024-25 if there are dollars available.

The budget agreement also includes ongoing base increases for all higher education segments to support operational costs and provides $1.4 billion in grants for the construction of affordable student housing.

State leaders can further support Californians by: providing additional emergency financial assistance to students from low-income households that recently abandoned their educational plans. Education expenses are a major reason why students, especially those from low-income households, canceled their higher education plans in the most recent academic year.

Gann Limit

What’s included in the 2022-23 California state budget: The budget package keeps state spending under the disco-era Gann Limit during both the 2022-23 fiscal year, which began on July 1, and the two-year period that ended June 30, 2022. To achieve this outcome, state leaders used the limited flexibility provided by the Gann Limit to allocate a large share of state dollars toward purposes that are excluded from the limit. For example, policymakers substantially increased spending on infrastructure, tax refunds, and emergency response — none of which counts toward the Gann Limit. The budget package also changed state law so that significantly more state funding for local governments (“subventions”) will count against local governments’ own spending limits rather than against the state’s limit, creating Gann Limit “room” at the state level.

State leaders can further address the Gann Limit’s impact by: laying the groundwork for meaningful Gann Limit reform. The Gann Limit is a roadblock to creating a more equitable California. Failure to repeal or revise the spending cap could soon jeopardize California’s ability to adequately fund public services.

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