2009-10 Budget Analysis Series: Judicial and Criminal Justice

Realigning Certain Criminal Justice Programs

Governor’s Fund Shift Proposal. The Governor’s 2009–10 budget proposes to shift the funding for four local public safety programs from the General Fund to VLF. These programs include the Citizens’ Option for Public Safety program (COPS), the Juvenile Justice Crime Prevention Act, local detention facility subventions (booking fees), and juvenile probation grants. Local governments would collectively receive $359 million of VLF—resources currently allocated to DMV. The DMV, in turn, would increase the annual vehicle registration fee by $12 to offset this revenue shift. The administration indicates that this proposal would provide stable, but somewhat reduced, ongoing support for the local public safety programs and $359 million of annual General Fund savings.

LAO Realignment Proposal. Our review indicates that the administration’s proposal could serve as a starting point for a policy–driven realignment of state–local criminal justice responsibilities. Under this realignment, the Legislature could reduce annual state expenditures by nearly $1.4 billion, improve services for juvenile and adult offenders, and provide a more reliable reimbursement stream to local governments for mandates. The funding source for our proposed criminal justice realignment is the VLF: $359 million shifted from the DMV, as proposed by the Governor, and an additional $1.1 billion raised by increasing the VLF rate to 1 percent. These revenues would be deposited into a new criminal justice realignment fund and allocated to three accounts:

For further details regarding our realignment proposal, please see our Criminal Justice Realignment report published as part of our 2009–10 Budget Analysis Series.

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