Office of Planning and Budgeting

California Projects Annual Deficits of $20b Through 2016

A new report from California’s non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO), California’s Fiscal Outlook, details current California state budget projections through at least 2016. The LAO projects that CA will have to solve at least a $25.4 billion deficit for 2011-12, and will continue to face budget gaps of at least $20 billion per year through 2015-16.

While analysts are clear that doomsday scenarios threatening the collapse and/or bankruptcy of the state are not realistic, they do emphasize the importance of lawmakers and citizens making painful choices now to avoid placing a massive burden on future generations of Californians. The LAO recommends a multi-year approach to addressing the state’s structural deficits, including making difficult choices on increasing revenue while making additional spending cuts. Detailed estimates are provided for each major area of government spending– see pages 29-30 for higher education.

California is unique in many ways, but the choices facing the state and its citizens are, though perhaps grander in scale, very similar to those being faced by states across the country, including Washington.

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