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May 11, 2019 - The Governor proposes to allow state tax benefits for investments in alternative energy or affordable housing in communities designated as Opportunity Zones under a new federal program. Given the mixed evidence regarding the benefits of similar policies and the existence of better mechanisms to fund affordable housing, we recommend rejecting the Governor’s proposal to create a state Opportunity Zone tax benefit.
April 11, 2019 - In this Fiscal Perspective post, the Legislative Analyst Gabriel Petek explains how and why—given the macroeconomic landscape—the Legislature may want to consider building larger reserves than what the governor proposed.
March 26, 2019 - When facing budget problems in the past, the state has “deferred” payments from one fiscal year into the next, providing significant one-time budgetary savings. While the state has already addressed many of its outstanding deferrals, there are still three major categories of deferrals remaining. These are related to: (1) state employee payroll, (2) pension payments, and (3) Medi-Cal payments. The Governor proposes using $1.7 billion to undo the payroll and pension deferrals. We find this would improve the state’s fiscal position and moderately improve the state’s budgetary practices, however, this approach has shortcomings relative to alternatives. This post recommends an alternative approach to the Governor’s proposal.
March 22, 2019 - In this post, we describe the Governor’s 2019-20 budget proposal to create a new office within California’s Government Operations Agency—the Office of Digital Innovation. We then provide issues for legislative consideration, including key questions about the office’s implementation and legislative oversight of its activities.
March 6, 2019 - The Select Committee on Social Determinants of Children’s Well-Being
March 5, 2019 - Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 4 on State Administration
February 7, 2019 - Presented to: Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee
February 5, 2019 - This report considers the overall structure of the Governor’s budget to evaluate how well it prepares the state to address a future budget problem. We begin with background to explain the state budget structure, budget problems, and options for addressing budget problems. We also provide background on the state’s existing reserves and debts and liabilities. We then present some key considerations as the Legislature considers its overall budget structure. Finally, we present and assess each of the Governor’s major budget reserve and debt and liability proposals and offer some alternatives for legislative consideration.
2/5/19: Corrected total of state spending deferrals in Figure 5.
January 29, 2019 - Presented to: Assembly Committee on Budget
January 17, 2019 - Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee
January 14, 2019 - This report presents our office’s initial assessment of the Governor’s Budget. The budget’s position continues to be positive. With $20.6 billion in discretionary resources available, the Governor’s budget proposal reflects a budget situation that is even better than the one our office estimated in the November Fiscal Outlook. The Governor’s Budget allocates nearly half of these discretionary resources to repaying state liabilities. Then, the Governor allocates $5.1 billion to one-time programmatic spending, $3 billion to reserves, and $2.7 billion to ongoing spending. Although the Governor’s allocation to discretionary reserves represents a smaller share of resources than recent budgets, the Governor’s decision to use a significant share of resources to pay down state debts is prudent. The Governor’s ongoing spending proposal is roughly in line with our November estimate of the ongoing capacity of the budget under an economic growth scenario. This was just one scenario, however. Recent financial market volatility indicates revenues could be somewhat lower than either we or the administration estimated.
January 1, 2019 - An index of publications on the 2019-20 budget.
December 13, 2018 - Nearly ten years ago today, Governor Schwarzenegger's proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year projected a $42 billion deficit. This shortfall was stunning, but in fact, turned out to be optimistic. In the months that followed, the Governor released three more budget projections, each one addressing even larger shortfalls. California was called "ungovernable," "a wreck," and "a failed state."
Today, California's fiscal position is dramatically different. While the budget still faces challenges, the state has made undeniable progress: the Legislature has enacted budgets that consistently increased savings, addressed many of the state's outstanding debts, and most recently passed a budget with a higher level of reserves than the state has seen in decades. Few could have predicted this turnaround.
So how did the state achieve this feat? This visual guide to the Great Recession and California's recovery tells the story of the budget over the last ten years.
December 6, 2018 - With a state as big, as populous, and as complex as California, quickly summarizing how its economy or state budget works is impossible. Instead, Cal Facts is a visual guide—using a variety of different charts—to the state's economy, revenues, and major program trends.
November 14, 2018 - This post discusses the various types of deposits the Legislature has made into the Budget Stabilization Account (BSA) that now compose its balance. We also present our projections of the estimated balance in the BSA under our recently published report, The 2019-20 Budget: California’s Fiscal Outlook.
In addition to this report, you can find the main California's Fiscal Outlook report along with a collection of other fiscal outlook material on our fiscal outlook budget page.