Newsom signs budget that addresses $46.8 billion deficit

California maintains $22.2 billion in reserves through the budget.

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a budget to address a substantial $46.8 billion deficit through a combination of $16 billion in spending cuts and temporary tax increases on certain businesses. 

The deficit had originated from a $32 billion gap in 2023 that further increased this year, with ongoing deficits projected for the state.


The big picture: The budget agreement necessitated compromises and adjustments from both Newsom and legislative leaders, as they had to scale back or postpone several progressive initiatives due to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

  • This shift followed a period where California had enjoyed significant surpluses based on federal aid and tax revenue from wealthy residents.
  • The newly signed budget aims to strike a balance between groundwork for the future and sustained funding for essential programs benefiting Californians, including areas such as housing, homelessness, education, and healthcare. 
  • Notably, the budget expresses a commitment to amending the state constitution to allow for increased reserves to address future financial shortfalls, reflecting a proactive approach to financial management.

Driving the news: The economic downturn fueled by inflation, rising unemployment, and a slower tech industry growth significantly impacted California’s fiscal outlook, leading to the need for substantial budget adjustments. 

  • The state’s historically volatile revenue patterns, particularly reliant on high-income taxpayers, have exacerbated challenges posed by the recent deficits.

What they’re saying: “This is a responsible budget that prepares for the future while investing in foundational programs that benefit millions of Californians every day,” Newsom said in a statement. “Thanks to careful stewardship of the budget over the past few years, we’re able to meet this moment while protecting our progress on housing, homelessness, education, health care and other priorities that matter deeply to Californians.”

The other side: Republicans raised concerns about being excluded from budget negotiations, highlighting discontent with the tax hikes on businesses generating over $1 million in revenue. 

  • The tax increases, set to last three years, are projected to generate additional revenue exceeding $5 billion in the upcoming fiscal year.
  • Democrats faced criticism for their decision to implement cuts to social safety net programs, adding to the debate surrounding the budget decisions.
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