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May 9, 2013 - Presented to: Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Invasive Species
March 7, 2013 - Presented to: Senate Budget Subcommittee No. 2 on Resources and Environmental Protection Hon. Jim Beall, Chair
February 26, 2013 - Presented to: Senate Governance and Finance Committee Hon. Lois Wolk, Chair and Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee Hon. Fran Pavely, Chair
February 21, 2013 - The Governor’s 2013‑14 budget includes a plan to implement the provisions of Proposition 39, which increases state corporate tax (CT) revenues and requires that half of these revenues for a five-year period be used for energy efficiency and alternative energy projects. The Governor proposes to count all associated revenues toward the Proposition 98 minimum guarantee for schools and community colleges. The Governor also proposes to designate all energy-related Proposition 39 funds to schools ($400.5 million) and community colleges ($49.5 million) in 2013‑14 and for the following four years. The Governor’s proposal to count all Proposition 39 revenues toward the Proposition 98 calculation is a significant departure from our longstanding view that revenues are to be excluded from the Proposition 98 calculation if the Legislature cannot use them for general purposes. In addition, the proposal excludes other eligible projects besides schools and community colleges (such as public hospitals) that potentially could achieve greater energy benefits. Further, the proposal does not coordinate Proposition 39 funding with the state’s existing energy efficiency programs. In view of the above concerns, we recommend the Legislature exclude from the Proposition 98 calculation all Proposition 39 revenues required to be used on energy-related projects and not count spending from these revenues as Proposition 98 expenditures. In addition, we recommend the Legislature direct the California Energy Commission (CEC) to administer a competitive grant process in which all public agencies, including schools and community colleges, could apply and receive funding based on identified facility needs.
February 19, 2013 - In this report, we review the Governor’s 2013-14 budget proposals for various resources and environmental protection departments and programs, including the Department of Water Resources, Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, Department of Parks and Recreation, California Energy Commission, and the Air Resources Board. We identify concerns with several of the proposals and make recommendations for legislative consideration. In some cases, we identify proposals that we think should be rejected or modified. In particular, we point out several budget proposals that would impact state expenditures in future years. We also note that the proposed budget includes several proposals to use certain revenues for different activities that may not be legally allowable given the revenue source. In addition, we identify several issues in the report that we believe merit greater legislative oversight, including a new surcharge on investor-owned utility electricity bills that the California Public Utilities Commission has been collecting since January 2012 without legislative authorization.
December 19, 2012 - California currently maintains over a dozen major programs that are intended to support the development of energy efficiency and alternative energy in the state. Over the past 10 to 15 years, the state has spent a combined total of roughly $15 billion on such efforts. In response to the Supplemental Report of the 2012-13 Budget Package, this report provides an overview of these different programs, as well as a preliminary assessment of them in terms of priority, overlap, and redundancy. We find that the state currently lacks a comprehensive framework that fully coordinates the state's energy incentive programs to help ensure that the state’s goals are being achieved in the most cost-effective manner. The absence of such a comprehensive framework (1) results in some level of program duplication, (2) results in some departments making policy choices that may not be aligned to legislative priorities, and (3) makes it difficult to compare effectiveness across programs. As a result, we recommend that the Legislature develop a comprehensive strategy for meeting the state’s energy efficiency and alternative energy objectives. In general, the comprehensive strategy should specify: (1) the state’s energy efficiency and alternative energy goals, (2) how programs should fit together to achieve the state’s goals, and (3) how program effectiveness will be measured.
October 16, 2012 - Presented to: Senate Select Committee on Delta Stewardship and Sustainability Hon. Lois Wolk, Chair
September 13, 2012 - Presented to: Assembly Committee on Agriculture Hon. Cathleen Galgiani, Chair and Senate Committee on Agriculture Hon. Anthony Cannella, Chair
August 9, 2012 - Department of Parks and Recreation: Current Funding Issues
April 11, 2012 - Presented to: Senate Budget Subcommittee No. 2 on Resources, Environmental Protection, Energy and Transportation Hon. S. Joseph Simitian, Chair
April 11, 2012 - Presented to: Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 3 on Resources and Transportation Hon. Richard S. Gordon, Chair
March 2, 2012 - The 2012-13 Governor’s Budget includes proposals to address some of the funding challenges currently faced by parks, including the continuation of the plan to close up to 70 state parks by July 2012. However, the Legislature and stakeholders have expressed interest in identifying alternative ways to prevent park closures and, more importantly, help ensure that the park system is adequately maintained and operated in the future. In this report, we evaluate various options that could be adopted to reduce costs or increase revenue for the state park system. Based on this analysis, we recommend specific steps to help maintain the park system, such as transferring the ownership of some state parks to local governments, eliminating the use of peace officers for certain park tasks, allowing private companies to operate some state parks, and increasing park user fees.
February 16, 2012 - This report examines the Governor's budget proposal regarding the use of revenues expected to be generated from the cap-and-trade auctions that the California Air Resources Board (ARB) will hold in 2012-13. These auctions are part of the state's plan to meet the goals of the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (commonly referred to as AB 32). In this report, we recommend that the Legislature first use the revenues in 2012-13 to offset General Fund costs of existing programs designed to mitigate GHG emissions. Since the Legislature will need to decide which General Fund costs to offset as part of the 2012-13 budget process, such decisions are best made this spring. In addition, the Legislature will need to begin the process of determining how effectively to allocate the remaining auction revenues on new or expanded programs.
February 9, 2012 - This report analyzes the design of the cap-and-trade program as adopted by the California Air Resources Board (ARB). This new, complex program is part of the state's plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions statewide to 1990 levels by 2020—a goal set by the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (commonly referred to as AB 32). The report examines in detail the specific policy choices made by the ARB in the design of the program, some specific policy trade-offs inherent in those decisions, and options for program design changes that the Legislature may wish to make depending on its policy priorities.
November 29, 2011 - Presented to: Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 3 on Resources and Transportation