Watch: How the pandemic is busting California cities’ budgets

Local governments across California have seen their budgets gutted by the pandemic-induced recession, but they aren’t likely to have much luck turning to voters for a handout. A new Public Policy Institute of California poll found that voters are not in a giving mood when it comes to new bond and tax measures.

That follows an unprecedentedly bad year for city and school fiscal measures in the March election, with voters rejecting more than half of ballot box fundraisers for the first time in decades. So just how bad a situation is this for California’s cities and what other options do locals have?

CalMatters political reporter Ben Christopher will moderate a virtual discussion on Thursday, May 7, at 1 p.m. about how the pandemic is gutting California cities’ budgets.


  • San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer
  • John Dunbar, board president of the League of California Cities and Mayor of Yountville in Napa County

This virtual chat is part of our “Getting Through Coronavirus, Explained” series. Question for the panelists? You can submit yours on the form below.

Latest in Events

Seniors are seen through the window at Grancell Village of the Los Angeles Jewish Home for the Aging in Reseda on April 11. California officials have said they may require nursing homes to accept COVID-19 patients discharged from hospitals. Photo by Nancy Pastor for CalMatters


Watch: How nursing homes need to change

Linda Soares, left, helps her son, Daniel, 16, with his history homework at their dining room table. Soares says that she has been able to learn from her son’s school aid, who is a friend, on how to best assist him with his class work. Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters


Watch: What’s working for teachers and parents during the lockdown


Watch: Help for homeowners, renters, and people who are homeless

Sen. Maria Elena Durazo loads bags of meat and produce into peoples' cars at a Los Angeles food bank on April 2, 2020. Photo by Elizabeth Aguilera for CalMatters


Watch: Financial help and safety nets during the pandemic

coronavirus mental health


Watch: Taking care of your mental health during the pandemic

Pizzaiolo part owner Donna Insalaco hopes that the business will be able to survive the shelter in place order and wants to support community members however they can. “We pivoted really hard today,” she said, “if our customers said ‘we need toilet paper’ we would share it.” Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters


Watch: How California Plans to Keep Small Businesses Afloat