California states controller on Wednesday warned the state faced the risk of a financial meltdown within 50 days following a sharp decline in May revenues unless Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and lawmakers quickly plug a $24.3 billion budget gap.

State Controller John Chiang said revenues in May fell by $1.14 billion, or 17.7 percent, from a year earlier, Reuters reported.

That drop means revenues now fall short of estimates in Schwarzenegger's budget plan by $827 million, Chiang said.

The U.S’s most populous state, home to approximately 37 million people, has been desperately struggling to put its financial house in order after voters rejected ballot measures aimed at bolstering its finances in May.