April 7, 2016
The Child and Dependent Care Expenses Credit (“child care tax credit” or “credit”) is a provision of the state income tax code that allows filers with income below $100,000 to reduce their tax liability by a percentage of their eligible child care expenses. The 2015–16 Budget Act required our office to prepare a report providing options to extend the credit to low– and middle–income families not currently receiving child care subsidies. This report provides an analysis of the costs, benefits, and trade–offs associated with these options.
March 10, 2016
In this report, we describe the FI$Cal Project, provide an update on the project’s status, and describe the events that triggered the development of a sixth special project report (SPR 6). We also describe the Governor’s 2016–17 budget proposals to: (1) allow the project to implement the changes proposed in SPR 6 and (2) establish a new state department to maintain and operate the FI$Cal System. Finally, we make associated findings and recommendations.
March 4, 2016
The Governor’s 2016-17 budget proposes $3.8 billion from the General Fund for Department of Developmental Services (DDS) programs—a 7.5 percent increase over 2015-16 estimated expenditures. This report focuses on the Governor's major policy-driven spending augmentations in the community services program. This report also summarizes legislation enacted as part of the recent special session that provides significant additional funding to the community services program and considers the Governor’s January proposals in this context.
February 26, 2016
In this report, we provide background on three key areas of higher education in California: enrollment, tuition and financial aid, and institutional performance. We then analyze specific budget proposals for the University of California, California State University, California Community Colleges, Hastings College of the Law, and California Student Aid Commission, making corresponding recommendations for the Legislature's consideration.
February 24, 2016
In this report, we analyze the Governor’s child care and preschool proposals. The report includes (1) a high-level overview of the proposed child care and preschool budget, and (2) an assessment of the Governor's proposals to restructure California's child care and preschool programs. At the end of the report, we provide a summary of our recommendations.
February 23, 2016
The Governor’s budget provides a total of $17 billion from various fund sources for all departments and programs under the California State Transportation Agency in 2016–17. This is an increase of $664 million, or 4 percent, over the estimated current–year expenditures. In this report, we assess the Governor’s budget proposals in the transportation area and summarize our major findings and recommendations.
February 22, 2016
In this report, we provide an analysis of the Governor's budget proposals for state criminal justice departments and programs, including for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), the judicial branch, the Department of Justice, and various local public safety programs. We review the most significant proposals in these areas and offer corresponding recommendations for the Legislature's consideration.
February 18, 2016
In this report, we cover the Governor's estimates of the Proposition 98 minimum guarantee, his overall Proposition 98 spending package, and his specific Proposition 98 proposals. We also provide in-depth analysis of the Governor's proposals for the Local Control Funding Formula, preschool, education mandates, special education, county offices of education, and the High Speed Network. In addition, we include an analysis of teacher workforce trends and we highlight several issues for the Legislature to consider when exploring potentially new workforce policies.
February 16, 2016
The Governor’s budget for 2016–17 proposes a total of $9 billion in expenditures from various sources for programs administered by the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Agencies. In this report, we assess many of the Governor’s budget proposals in the resources and environmental protection areas and recommend various changes.
February 12, 2016
In this report, we (1) provide an overview of the major effects of Proposition 47 on the state, (2) recommend a framework for satisfying the measure’s requirement that the state savings it creates be deposited into a new special fund, and (3) describe and assess the administration’s approach for meeting the measure’s fiscal requirements, including the allocation of the monies deposited in the new fund.
February 11, 2016
We review the Governor's 2016-17 budget proposals for (1) the Supplemental Security Income/State Supplementary Payment (SSI/SSP) program, (2) In-Home Supportive Services, (3) California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs), and (4) Foster Care. Further, we provide the Legislature with key issues to consider when evaluating the Governor's budget proposals.
February 11, 2016
In this report, we provide an analysis of the administration’s caseload projections, as well as a discussion of the impacts of the ACA on the ability to project caseload. We also provide an assessment of several General Fund cost pressures on the horizon in Medi–Cal, including the sunset of the hospital QAF.
February 9, 2016
The Governor’s budget for 2016–17 proposes one–time funding of $1.5 billion from the General Fund to be deposited into a new State Office Infrastructure Fund. Under the proposal, monies in this fund would be continuously appropriated for the replacement and renovation of state office buildings in the Sacramento area. We find the Governor’s focus on state office buildings makes sense given the age and condition of the facilities prioritized by the Governor. However, we identify several issues that merit legislative consideration.
February 9, 2016
In this follow up to California’s High Housing Costs: Causes and Consequences, we offer additional evidence that facilitating more private housing development in the state’s coastal urban communities would help make housing more affordable for low–income Californians.
February 5, 2016
Despite welcome storms early this winter, statewide drought conditions appear far from over. This report (1) describes the current drought and its impacts across the state, (2) summarizes the state's drought response appropriations and activities thus far, (3) assesses the Governor's drought-related budget proposals for 2016-17, and (4) recommends steps the Legislature can take to address drought both in the coming year and the future.
February 2, 2016
This series of online posts examines how CalSTRS is implementing recent legislation that aims to fully fund teacher pensions over the next 30 years. In our review, we explain how CalSTRS is implementing the funding plan, including how an abstract calculation has changed how responsibility for CalSTRS' unfunded liabilities is shared between the state and districts.
January 27, 2016
The District of Choice program is one of several statutory options allowing a K-12 student to transfer from one school district to another school district. The program will sunset on July 1, 2017, unless the Legislature decides to reauthorize it. This report, prepared at the request of the Legislature, assesses the program and offers our recommendations regarding reauthorization.
January 21, 2016
Describes and assesses the relationship—from both a legal and policy perspective—between the cap–and–trade regulation and the auction revenues that are generated as a result of the program.
January 5, 2016
Provides background information on California’s criminal fine and fee system, identifies problems with the existing system, and makes recommendations for improvement.