When the '11-12 California budget was passed last June, it included a provision that would direct the Governor to make additional cuts across various categories if the revenue projections proved too optimistic (as determined by the LAO and the director of finance at the end of the year). Although last month the LAO estimated that revenue for '11-12 will be almost $4 billion below the June estimate, in today’s press conference the director of finance estimated the revenue shortfall to be slightly over $2 billion, triggering just under $1 billion of further cuts. This includes all level 1 cuts ($600 million) and some of the level 2 cuts ($400 million).
Our visualizations place the trigger cuts in context of current and last year budgets and effects on actual services delivered.
Although the cuts may seem small in absolute dollars, they represent large portions of some programs. This is best seen in this visualization that shows cuts for each program affected as percentages of that program’s budgets (http://beta.cacs.org/visualization/1528). It displays the cuts for each category as a percent of its allocation. Again, some of the biggest proportional cuts occur in the higher education programs.
Select the major budget category in the top chart by clicking on the category. The bottom graph will then display the budget cuts for its subcategories as a percent of their allocation in the bottom chart. In this graphic we see that the 2.8% reduction for higher education is fairly equally spread out between the university systems, but with the California State University system taking the biggest proportional hit.
Trigger cuts in terms of real services
As millions pile on billions, the numbers may be hard to appreciate. The third visualization puts these abstract numbers opposite hypothetical cuts in the programs’ services that would correspond to those amounts (http://www.cacs.org/transparency.php?transparency_id=21). The two charts on the left show the cuts in real dollars, while the graphic on the right depicts what the money being cut buys us today:
Select the major budget category in the top left chart by clicking on the category. This will show the budget cuts for its subcategories as a percent of their allocation in the bottom chart. When you select one of the subcategories, the chart on the right will display what that cut can translate to in terms of real services. In the screenshot above, we see that general funding for schools will be cut by $79 million. According to recent figures, this is equivalent to the annual spending on nine thousand students! (Note: the cuts will probably not result in these specific service reductions, as they will be spread out across the respective programs).