Governmental Role of the Department of Finance

Mission Statement

  • Serve as the Governor's chief fiscal policy advisor.
  • Promote long-term economic sustainability and responsible resource allocation through the state's annual financial plan.

How We Fit Into State Government

State government is made up of three branches:

  1. Legislative
  2. Judicial
  3. Executive

The Department of Finance, located in Sacramento, is in the Executive Branch and part of the Governor's Administration.

The Department is One of Eight 'Control Agencies'

The Director of Finance is appointed by the Governor and serves as the chief fiscal policy advisor. The Director is a member of the Governor's cabinet and senior staff.

Principal functions are as follows:

  • Establish appropriate fiscal policies to carry out the state's programs.

  • Prepare, explain, and administer the state's annual financial plan (budget), which the Governor is required under the State Constitution to present by January 10 of each year.

  • Analyze legislation which has a fiscal impact.

  • Maintain the California State Accounting and Reporting System (CALSTARS).

  • Train and support departmental accounting.

  • Monitor/audit expenditures by state departments to ensure compliance with law, approved standards, and policies.

  • Develop economic forecasts and revenue estimates.

  • Develop population and enrollment estimates and projections.

  • Review expenditures for information technology activities of the departments.

Fiscal Process and Authority

The fiscal process is a dynamic one as new laws are enacted, new regulations are adopted, priorities change, available resources increase or decrease, and the Administration itself changes.

The Department of Finance impacts the fiscal activities of other state departments because of the general authority granted to the Department in Government Code Section 13070. This section provides the Department of Finance with authority over all financial and business policies of the state. There are numerous other code sections that direct the operations of the Department.


Governor Brown




Finance Director Michael Cohen






The Strategic Plan of the Department of Finance provides a road map for our organization so that we may better serve as the statewide leader for budget and fiscal policy. The Plan will help Finance realize its mission by focusing on commitments in the following three areas: Leadership, Workforce, and Accountability..

Top