Assembly budget memo outlines rocky 2020-21 outlook, declares August revision likely

Assembly Budget Chair Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), in a memo released this week, provides an overview of that the 2020-21 budget situation and process might look like. Asm. Ting echoed the March advisory issued by the Department of Finance that the May budget revision will be a “workload budget,” while offering that the Legislature will we will no longer be able to consider new priorities and ideas from stakeholders, advocates and legislators, “with the exception of COVID-19 related costs, wildfire prevention, and homelessness funding.”

This likely means that January proposals for new K-12 program spending will be shelved. The memo goes on to state that budget committees may need to “revisit some reductions to existing state programs at that time, given the State’s fiscal condition.” The memo echoes Gov. Gavin Newsom’s comments during his April 2 press conference that, “the January budget is no longer operable…we should be prepared for substantial adjustments.”

Asm. Ting’s memo offered that there could be an August revision to enacted budget, due primarily to the extension of the tax filing deadline from April 15 to July 15, which will not allow for a clear picture of state revenues during the May and June budget process. By law, Gov. Newsom must release his May Revision on or before May 15, the budget bill must be passed by the Legislature by June 15 and the Governor must sign the final budget by July 1 – these deadlines are set by the California Constitution and are not waivable. However, the memo states that budget committees would consider a second round of deliberations, and that ,“given the initial projections of the virus’s impact on the economy, it is possible the State will need to consider sizable ongoing reductions to major programs during this time,” Ting said. It is unclear from the memo how the process of revising the enacted 2020-21 budget would play out between the Legislature and the Administration.

While recognizing a more volatile budget situation due to COVID-19, CSBA continues to advocate for the preservation of funding for K-12 and for any available one-time funds to be allocated on a discretionary basis, to allow LEAs to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic locally and to preserve existing programs. Read the Assembly memo.