Education Finance Fact

There are 120 legislative members and the 2008-09 Budget stalemate came down to eight votes.


Under California’s Constitution, a supermajority—two-thirds of the Legislature in both houses—is needed to pass a State Budget. In 2008-09, given the composition of the State Senate and Assembly, this means that two Senate Republicans (out of 27) and six Assembly Republicans (out of 54) must vote with all the Democrats to pass a Budget. The constitutional provision requiring a two-thirds vote dates back to 1879.

California is notorious for its late Budgets, in large part because of the two-thirds requirement. Agreement between the parties is required to pass a Budget—for better or for worse. In fact, California is one of only three states in the country that require a supermajority vote. The other states are Rhode Island and Arkansas. Almost all other states pass budgets with a simple majority.

Records are made to be broken—2008-09 goes down in history as the longest budget standoff, knocking 2002-03 from the top of the list. In that year, the State Budget was passed on September 1 and signed by Governor Gray Davis on September 5, 2002, but who’s counting.

Since the finances of California educational agencies are state controlled, the absence of a State Budget affects planning and management in a significant way. School Services understands the importance of getting information about the State Budget out to school agencies in a timely way because it’s needed to inform school agency budget development and updating. Each year, we offer workshops that quickly turn around information from the Governor’s January Budget Proposal, May Revision, and Final Budget Act in a format that helps with immediate budget planning decisions and broader communication within your school community.

More information can be found at:

Useful Links:
  National Council of State Legislatures
Workshops:
  School Finance Conference
  Governor's Budget
  May Revise
SSC Experts:
  Robert Miyashiro
  Nancy LaCasse
  David Heckler