Legislative Analyst’s Office
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.
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; or 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 area.
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 $67,000 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 with a minimum amount of supervision) begin at approximately $97,000 per year. Salaries for principal fiscal and policy analysts range from $115,000 to $133,000 per year.
The LAO also provides a comprehensive package of health, vision, dental, and retirement benefits.
In addition, the LAO provides vacation, sick leave, compensatory time off for overtime above a specified level, and about 13 holidays per year.
The office currently employs 43 analytical and 11 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.
The LAO is an equal opportunity employer.