Fiscal and Policy Analyst
Legislative Analyst's Office
Duties and Responsibilities
The Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO) provides nonpartisan fiscal and policy analysis
to the California Legislature and has done so since 1941. The LAO (1) assists the
Legislature in all aspects of the budget process, through its analytical and oversight
activities; (2) responds to legislative requests for information and analysis of the
state's budget and programs; and (3) conducts independent studies and produces
self-generated reports on topics of importance to the state. Additional information
about the LAO can be found on our Web Site at http://www.lao.ca.gov
The Fiscal and Policy Analyst's primary responsibility
is to be the LAO's expert in the policy area to which he or she is assigned. These
assignments fall into one of the following general areas:
state finance; local government; health; human services;
K-12 education; higher education; transportation; resources and environmental protection;
and criminal justice. Toward this end, an analyst:
Spends considerable time in the field learning first-hand how programs work in practice.
Keeps up on the laws and available literature in the program area.
- Knows and stays in contact with legislative, administrative, and intergovernmental
staff, as well as industry groups and nonprofit organizations in the assigned policy
The analyst uses this expertise to:
- Identify and analyze budget and policy issues and develop options and recommendations
for the Legislature to address these issues. These analyses are contained in
reports, legislative assignments, and initiative and ballot pamphlet write-ups.
- Testify before legislative committees on fiscal
and policy issues.
- Serve as a fiscal and program resource to legislators whenever needed.
Because analysts are nonpartisan fiscal and policy staff, it is essential their
work be objective, analytical, accurate, and thorough. In addition, for the analyst's
work to be useful to the Legislature, it must be solution-oriented and performed
in a timely manner.
Applicants must possess a Master's degree in public policy, public
or business administration, economics, or a related field that includes a curriculum
of economics, statistics, public finance, and policy analysis. In addition, analysts
must: (1) possess strong quantitative and analytical skills, (2) be able to communicate
effectively through clear and concise writing and oral presentations, (3) work well
with others in a fast-paced and production-oriented environment, (4) learn quickly,
show initiative, and be willing to take on increasing levels of responsibility, and (5)
be proficient in Microsoft Excel and Word.
The entry-level salary for the Fiscal and Policy Analyst position is approximately $57,000 per year. The office will consider salaries that are above this amount, depending on the candidate's qualifications and experience. Salaries for Senior Fiscal and Policy Analysts (analysts who have demonstrated the ability to perform all analytical tasks and produce all office products at a consistently high quality with a minimum amount of supervision) begin at approximately $85,000 per year. Salaries for Principal Fiscal and Policy Analysts range from $103,000 to $119,000 per year.
The LAO also provides a comprehensive package of health, vision, dental, and
In addition, the LAO provides vacation, sick leave, compensatory time-off for overtime
above a specified level, and about 13 holidays per year.
The LAO has served the Legislature and the people of California
The office currently employs 44 analytical and 13 support staff. Staff of the LAO
are hired and promoted on a merit basis and are exempt from civil service.
The LAO enjoys a national reputation for the quality and nonpartisanship of its
analyses and staff.
Follow this link for information on
how to apply.
The LAO is an equal opportunity employer.