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California's Budget

Taking A Slice Out of the Budget Pie

Why is California's budget always late? Watch our video to find out.

How's That Work Again?

Have you ever had questions about California government, but were afraid to ask? Now is your opportunity!

Are you still confused about that initiative the guy outside the grocery store wants you to sign? Or how the budget process even works?

Just like your teacher always said, there is no such thing as a stupid question. So email us, and we'll try to answer your question here on our web site, or on the radio!

Straight From Sacramento


California Budget Challenge

Which programs would you cut to shore up the state's $20 billion budget deficit?

The Legacy of Prop 13

Is Prop 13 the best thing that ever happened to California homeowners, or is it to blame for our fiscal crisis?

Further Reading

Also From California Report


A window into health in California.

Governing California

Governing California Blog | Jun 27, 2011

By Tyche Hendricks

Would YOU volunteer to spend three days in a hotel with 300 strangers from across the state? Would you want to learn more about how California's government works (and doesn't) and have others listen to YOUR views on the issues? These folks did.

Jun 24, 2011

300 Californians. One Deliberative Poll. One What?

What's a deliberative poll? And why are we doing one in California? A random sample of Californians is about to find out, giving up the first weekend of summer to learn about state governance and weigh in on what we oughta do to get the Golden State on the right track.

Jun 23, 2011

Those Little Pots of Money

The way school funding gets shuffled around, Californians can feel like they're watching a baffling shell game. If you've ever wondered where your tax dollars end up, you may be interested in a couple of moves to simplify education finance. They could help schools weather the funding crisis. And they might make it easier for communities to get involved.

Jun 22, 2011

Keep Schools Solvent With a Tax on Oil Drilling?

With more California school facing financial crisis, education advocates are scrambling for new sources of cash. The latest proposal? A tax on oil extraction. Turns out, the idea's not new. Will it catch on this year?

Jun 17, 2011

California's First Ever Budget Veto: A Game Changer?

"We have a new sheriff in town," said California finance expert Fred Silva Thursday. "Gov. Schwarzenegger kept signing budgets that kicked the can down the road. Gov. Brown didn't do that. I was quite invigorated."

Read the Blog »

Recent Radio Stories

The California Report | Friday, May 11, 2012, 4:30 PM

Election 2012: The Inland Empire

The November election is still six months away, but already it's shaping up to be a referendum on government. How are voters feeling about government and the politicians who represent them? Scott Shafer makes a first stop on the road talking with voters in the Inland Empire, a sprawling area east of L.A. County that runs all the way to the Nevada and Arizona borders.

The California Report | Friday, Jun 24, 2011, 4:30 PM

California's Budget Cop

On Tuesday, Controller John Chiang stopped paying legislators because they failed to pass a balanced budget. The decision was the first use of last November's "no budget, no pay" initiative, Proposition 25. But it raises a new set of questions about fact-checking budgets, and whether the state needs something akin to a budget cop.

The California Report | Thursday, Jun 23, 2011, 8:50 AM

Untangling the Web of California School Funding

As summer vacation sets in for many California school kids, their parents may be relieved they survived another year of deep budget cuts to education. This is the third year public schools have been through the financial wringer -- and part of the challenge of finding solutions is tracking the way that schools are funded.

The California Report | Wednesday, Jun 22, 2011, 8:50 AM

How School Budgets Passed From Local to State

More of California's public school districts are heading toward the financial brink. At last count, 143 are inching toward insolvency. The problem dates back to changes that shifted responsibility for funding education from local districts to the state.

The California Report | Monday, Jun 06, 2011, 8:50 AM

Spending Caps Are Nothing New in California Budgeting

The Legislature is expected to begin formal debate on the state budget this week. So far, negotiations remain stuck on the issue of taxes, and Republicans are insisting on some major policy changes, including a new formal cap on spending. The key word is "new" -- the state has had a legal spending limit for more than a generation.

On Forum with Michael Krasny

Forum | Wednesday, May 16, 2012, 9:00 AM

Prop. 28: The Term Limits Debate

On June 5, California voters will decide whether to adopt new rules on term limits. Proposition 28 would reduce the total number of years lawmakers can serve in the Legislature, while also allowing them to serve out their term in one house. Supporters say it would increase government stability and preserve institutional knowledge. Critics say it will empower incumbents and keep new faces and ideas out of Sacramento.

Forum | Thursday, Mar 31, 2011, 10:00 AM

Redistricting California

California voters passed Prop. 11 as a way to stop political gerrymandering. The measure took the drawing of legislative districts out of the hands of lawmakers, and instead put it into the hands of a bipartisan organization called the Citizens Redistricting Commission. But that group is already under fire for alleged political bias -- and its work is not yet underway.

Forum | Thursday, Jan 06, 2011, 9:00 AM

Restructuring Government

Governor Jerry Brown wants to restructure California's government -- and he made that very clear his first full day in office. It means shifting some responsibilities for public services to the local level, along with the money to pay for those services.

Forum | Friday, Nov 05, 2010, 9:30 AM

Governor Brown Redux

We talk with two longtime Jerry Brown-watchers about how the newly-elected governor is likely to approach budget deficits, unemployment and the many other challenges facing the Golden State.

Forum | Monday, Oct 25, 2010, 10:00 AM

Campaign Cash

Michael Krasny and guests follow the money as we discuss the role of campaign contributions in the November election.


Can We Get on Track?

Trust in government has reached record lows, and California is in need of change. But what's the root of the problem? And how can we fix it? In December 2009, we brought together eight smart thinkers for a wide-ranging conversation.

A Century of Reform

This isn't the first time Californians have tried to fix a broken government. This timeline traces a century-worth of reform efforts -- some fizzled, some failed and some yielded major unintended consequences.

About This Project

California's civic institutions once inspired the nation, but the state has plummeted to startling levels of dysfunction. Today, California is often cited as an example of excess, failure and governmental paralysis. Governing California looks at how we got to this point, explores the huge -- and sometimes unseen -- impact on the state's citizens and institutions, and aims to stimulate a public discussion of how we might find our way back to collaborative, well-functioning governance.

On the airwaves of The California Report and through this website, Governing California will make sense of how our political leaders are elected and what constrains -- and enables -- their ability to govern. We'll examine how tax dollars are raised and spent, the role of citizens in government and the effect of money in politics. As Californians we can't fix the problem until we understand what's not working and the nature of the forces keeping it that way. But we also need to voice our visions of how we want our state to function, and start talking to each other about solutions. We invite you to join that conversation.

Governing California is funded by the James Irvine Foundation.

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