2009-10 Budget Analysis Series: Judicial and Criminal Justice
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:
- Juvenile Offender Account—$765 Million. Under realignment, counties would have full program authority and the corresponding financial responsibility for juvenile offender programs. Counties could use the resources in this account for the juvenile offender programs and services that they determine work best in their communities. Counties would be financially responsible for reimbursing the Division of Juvenile Facilities (DJF), the formal name of the state agency frequently called the Division of Juvenile Justice, for any county youths placed in DJF facilities.
- Adult Offender Account—$638 Million. Under realignment, responsibility for punishment and treatment of certain adult offenders with substance abuse problems would shift to counties. Counties could use the resources in this account to place these individuals in jails or residential treatment facilities, or to supervise them in the community while they attend substance abuse treatment programs. Cities would receive a dedicated portion of the funds in this account under the existing COPS program.
- Mandate Payment Account—$103 Million. Funds in this account would provide local governments with a steady stream of revenues to reimburse them for long–overdue mandate claims. Cities and counties also would receive a “per peace officer” reimbursement for one mandate—the Peace Officer Procedural Bill of Rights (POBOR). This simple POBOR payment methodology would replace the current complicated and highly contentious reimbursement for POBOR.
For further details regarding our realignment proposal, please see our Criminal Justice Realignment report published as part of our 2009–10 Budget Analysis Series.
Return to Judicial and Criminal Justice Table of Contents, 2009-10 Budget Analysis SeriesReturn to Full Table of Contents, 2009-10 Budget Analysis Series