Dollars and Democracy: A Guide to the State Budget Process


Budget choices by state policymakers should reflect our collective values, priorities, and ideals to build a state where more Californians are able to live, work, and thrive across our communities. Making budget decisions and policy choices depends on meaningful deliberations that are fact-based and informed by California’s demographic, economic, and social contexts while pointing to strategic solutions for the state and its people.

A big part of decision making in California happens during the state budget process. In the Budget Center’s popular Dollars and Democracy: A Guide to the State Budget Process, we provide an overview of the year-round state budget cycle, detail the roles of the key players, and lay out the timeline for state budgeting as well as opportunities for input. Our hope is that this guide makes the state budget process more accessible for policy staff, advocates, and the media, as well as to broaden participation in the budget debate.

View the state budget process guide.

As a companion to the comprehensive guide, the Budget Center provides a print-friendly infographic, Navigating the State Budget Process, that illustrates the key steps in the state budget process as well as the respective roles of the Governor and the Legislature and the various opportunities for public involvement. View the companion infographic.

The Budget Center also provides a guide to understanding how the state budget process relates to the policy bill process.

Visit our YouTube channel to view the following presentations: