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March 14, 2005 - Presented to the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Subcommittee No. 2 on March 14, 2005.
March 9, 2005 - Presented to the Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 3 on Resources and Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee on March 9, 2005.
February 24, 2005 - We find that there has been a substantial undercollection of pesticide mill assessment revenues, and we offer a couple of options for addressing this issue. We recommend that the Department of Pesticide Regulation and the Department of Finance report at budget hearings on the options.
February 24, 2005 - We recommend the deletion of $10.8 million from the General Fund requested by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDFFP) for fire apparatus and helicopters because the proposal lacks details and the plan to purchase helicopters is premature. We also recommend the deletion of $9 million from the General Fund proposed for year-round firefighting staffing in Southern California because the proposal has not been justified. Finally, we recommend a number of actions to improve legislative oversight over CDFFP’s receipt and use of unanticipated federal funds.
February 24, 2005 - The Governor’s Reorganization Plan Number One (GRP 1), related to reforming boards and commissions, proposes eliminating two energy-related agencies—the California Consumer Power and Conservation Financing Authority and the Electricity Oversight Board—and moving their duties to the Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission. We find that this proposal raises various issues, including potential conflicts of interest in the resulting organization and whether the reorganization is premature pending potential future changes in the energy market and a potential proposal to establish an energy agency.
February 24, 2005 - We find that there are significant amounts of resources bond funds that were appropriated in the current and prior years that have not been expended. We also find that delays persist in getting funds out-the door and that there has been a lack of demand for the specified use of some bond funds. We recommend that the administration report at budget hearings on various bond program implementation issues.
February 24, 2005 - In order to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the state’s recycling programs, we recommend that such programs be consolidated into a new department within the California Environmental Protection Agency. We also recommend that the nonrecyling-related functions in the current agencies be transferred to other departments. This reorganization would generate special fund savings of at least $2 million.
February 24, 2005 - The budget proposes to finance a pending $464 million settlement of a flood-related lawsuit against the state (the Paterno case) with a judgment bond. We think that there may be other ways to pay this settlement. We also find that the judgment bond proposal raises legal, policy, and fiscal issues for the Legislature to consider. We recommend that the Director of Finance report on various issues at budget hearings.
February 23, 2005 - Presented to the Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 3 on Resources on February 23, 2005.
February 22, 2005 - Two of the most important water policy issues facing the state today are how to address what has been characterized by the administration as a “crisis” in flood management and how to finance the $8.1 billion CALFED Bay-Delta Program (CALFED). We analyze a Department of Water Resources White Paper recently submitted to the Legislature on addressing the state’s flood management challenges and make recommendations for legislative action. We also analyze a ten-year finance plan for CALFED that the budget indicates will be incorporated in the Governor’s May Revision. We find that the finance plan’s revenue assumptions may be unrealistic. As a result, the Legislature will need to establish its expenditure priorities so that the program can be “right sized” consistent with those priorities.
January 19, 2005 - The Legislature has made protection of and access to California's 1,100 miles of coastline a statewide priority. While the California Coastal Commission has made progress toward protecting California's coastline, certain of the commission's permitting practices have temporarily reduced, and may permanently reduce, the public's access to the coast. The Coastal Commission's mitigation strategies include owners offering to dedicate (OTD) portions of their property to public use as a condition of receiving a coastal development permit. We make a number of recommendations focused on encouraging more upfront mitigation of coastal development, finding a more appropriate funding source for mitigation, and shortening the timeframes for acceptance and opening of OTDs.
August 6, 2004 - In a letter to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee dated August 3, 2004, we raise a number of significant concerns about the proposed allocation of state bond and other funds for a conservation-related transaction concerning the Hearst Ranch property in San Luis Obispo County. In particular, we find that the level of resource protection provided by the transaction needs strengthening and greater certainty. We make recommendations to improve the state's oversight of the enforcement of the terms of the transaction to ensure that the state's significant investment is adequately protected in perpetuity.
May 14, 2004 - The implementation of the Proposition 50 resources bond has raised the issue of whether private water companies should be eligible for these funds. We identify several legal, tax, and policy issues for legislative consideration in evaluating this issue. We recommend that the Legislature declare its policy position on this matter. Our review concludes that the broad public purpose of Proposition 50 bond funds would be served by including private entities as eligible recipients of such funds.
April 29, 2004 - Presented to: Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Subcommittee No. 2 on April 29, 2004