The State Treasurer’s Office (STO) is a constitutionally established office led by the elected State Treasurer. The office provides various banking services for state and local governments. For example, STO invests state funds, administers the sale of state bonds, and processes various payments. The State Treasurer also serves as chairperson of various state boards, commissions, and authorities. The Governor’s budget proposes $39 million for support of STO in 2017-18, mostly from reimbursements. This is a decrease of about $1 million, or about 3 percent, from current-year estimated expenditures.
Background. The 2015-16 budget provided the STO with five positions and roughly $700,000 on a two-year, limited term basis to establish a Data and Government Transparency Unit, funded by the boards, commissions, and authorities associated with STO. The office proposed to use the unit to update its website and facilitate its data sharing efforts. In the two fiscal years since the unit’s establishment, STO has used it, along with about $1 million in contracts that was redirected from other sources, to update STO’s website and launch other pages with information on California debt (DebtWatch) and business incentives (CBIG). (The ongoing cost of these contracts is about $180,000 per year.)
Governor’s Proposal. The Governor’s budget proposes five permanent positions and $799,000 ongoing to support STO’s website and data sharing efforts. These positions are proposed to be funded using the special funds associated with the various boards, commissions, and authorities associated with STO.
Insufficient Justification of Ongoing Workload. STO has identified a few upcoming new projects for the unit through December 2018. This work includes creating websites to identify the awards made by STO and provide information to bond investors, modify the DebtWatch site, and launch a marketing campaign for the CBIG website. STO has not identified new projects beyond 2018 but has indicated that it would continue to require staff resources to maintain the new sites. While there is likely to be some level of ongoing workload associated with maintaining these sites once they are created, we would anticipate this to be at a lower level than what is associated with creating new sites.
Recommend Approving Funding on Two-Year, Limited-Term Basis. We raise no specific concerns with the proposed funding to implement new projects in the next couple of years. However, we recommend providing the requested funding on a two-year, limited-term basis. This would provide funding for the specific upcoming projects planned by STO. To the extent that STO identifies future plans for additional projects beyond 2018, it can request the requisite amount of funding as part of future budget request. Additionally, to the extent that STO believes there is ongoing workload associated with maintaining the various sites, it will be in a better position to assess the level of this workload once all the proposed sites have been launched.