California Coronavirus Budget Is Grim: Deficit Tops $54 Billion

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Publication: San Francisco Chronicle

SACRAMENTO — California is facing a deficit of more than $54 billion in its upcoming state budget as tax revenue plummets and the demand for social services soars amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The updated projection, released Thursday by the state Department of Finance, is the latest sign of how badly California’s economy has been battered since the pandemic took hold less than three months ago. Gov. Gavin Newsom said a multibillion-dollar budget reserve would be of some help, but he also pleaded for Washington to come to the state’s rescue with bailout money.

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Assemblyman Phil Ting, a San Francisco Democrat who chairs the Budget Committee, said that while the state will probably try to raise revenue through a vaping tax, deep cuts are inevitable. He said the state should do everything it can to avoid slashing programs that help low-income families, such as food assistance and education.

“It’s devastating because at a time when people need government the most, which is any recession, is also the time when we have limited ability to help,” Ting said.

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