In summary

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced his budget priorities on Monday, describing how he would like to use that extra cash. But do you agree?

California, once again, is projected to have a sizable surplus — $45.7 billion in total, but $20.6 billion of that up for grabs.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced his budget priorities on Monday, describing how he would like to use that extra cash. But do you agree?

Suppose it were up to you: How would you spend California’s budget surplus? This is how you spent it last year.

Here’s a tool for theoretically doing just that. Rejigger the state’s general fund tax and spending priorities to your liking. We’ve provided just a sampling of all the possibilities out there — let us know if there’s something we really should have included but didn’t.

Just remember:

  • The state can’t run a deficit, so balance that budget before submitting your priorities and, when you do, you can compare your results with others!

  • You’re only messing around with “general fund” monies, so we’re not messing around with the large pool of Prop 98 funds that go toward K-12 education.

Picking priorities

To change a budget priority, click on the option you like and a check mark will appear next to the chosen option. The surplus indicator at the top will also change.

Submitting your priorities

When you are ready to submit your priorities, click or tap the button at the bottom that reads, “Click to see how you compare to others.”

You’ll then be able to see how your priorities compare with other’s. You’ll also be able to go back and change your priorities around, then resubmit!                                

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$20.6 billion


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Money Coming In

Money Going Out

You cannot submit your budget priorities while you have a deficit! This may surprise you, but California’s budget must be balanced each year! So either cut spending or increase revenue to continue.

See how you compare to others

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Taxes & Fees


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John Osborn D'Agostino

John Osborn D’Agostino is an award-winning data journalist, web developer and game designer. Previously, he's worked with The Hechinger Report, EdSource, the East Bay Express, Berkeleyside, and the North...