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April 20, 2017 - Presented to Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Subcommittee No. 4 on State Administration and General Government
March 30, 2017 - Despite reaping regular benefits from county administration of elections, the state only sporadically provides funding to counties for election activities. The state has a clear interest in secure, timely, and uniform elections. We recommend the Legislature develop a new financial relationship between the state and counties to (1) direct statewide elections policy and (2) provide a reasonable and reliable level of financial support that reflects the benefits to the state of county elections administration. The pending implementation of a new voting model via 2016 legislation, SB 450, provides an opportunity for the Legislature to consider how to structure such a financial relationship to ensure consistency across counties as well as address other elections issues.
March 24, 2017 - We recommend that the Legislature amend the proposed budget bill language for Control Section 4.11 to improve transparency and legislative oversight over the state’s workforce.
March 23, 2017 - This report updates our November 2016 report on Los Angeles' bid for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Los Angeles' bid greatly reduces financial risks that have plagued prior hosts of the Games, as we discussed in November. Since then, organizers have released new plans for the Games' Opening and Closing Ceremonies, an updated budget, and a study of potential economic benefits for Los Angeles. This report recaps those developments and others. We discuss the federal government's significant role in a possible Los Angeles Games and the potential role of state legislative oversight in helping keep public financial risks low, if Los Angeles is chosen over Paris to host the Games.
Correction 5/25/2017: Changed date for new L.A. football stadium's first Super Bowl to 2022, following a decision on this matter by NFL team owners.
March 14, 2017 - We reviewed the proposed memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the state and Bargaining Unit 16. This bargaining unit is represented by the Union of American Physicians and Dentists (UAPD) and consists of state employed physicians, dentists, and podiatrists. This analysis fulfills our requirement under Section 19829.5 of the Government Code.
March 14, 2017 - This report examines the Savings Plus Program (the state's optional retirement savings plan for state employees). We find that, although anyone can benefit from saving money for their retirement, certain groups of state employees--those who work less than a full career, earn lower salaries, and are hired in the future and earn less generous retirement benefits as a result of recent policy changes--could significantly improve their financial security in retirement by saving more money on their own during their working career. In this report, we discuss our findings and options the Legislature can consider to improve employee participation. This report reflects policy changes established through labor agreements that require state employees to contribute a percentage of pay to prefund retiree health benefits and reduce retiree health benefits for future employees. Some of these agreements currently are pending legislative ratification.
March 3, 2017 - The Governor’s budget proposes several actions related to public works labor enforcement, including steps to address a structural funding problem the Governor has identified. In this analysis, we discuss our findings and recommendations relative to this proposed actions.
March 3, 2017 - The Governor’s budget proposes $11 million in special funds and 82.5 positions, phased in over three years, for the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement to pursue additional investigations of labor standards violations. In this analysis, we provide our assessment of the Governor’s proposal and raise several concerns that we believe should be addressed before any funding and staffing are approved.
February 28, 2017 - In this web post, we assess the Governor’s 2017-18 budget proposal to fortify the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s plant pest prevention system. The proposal includes 190.5 permanent positions in 2017-18. We recommend the Legislature approve 25.5 new permanent positions. However, we recommend approving only half of the 165 positions requested to be shifted from temporary status to permanent status.
February 28, 2017 - The State Controller’s Office (SCO) has recently renewed its effort to replace the state’s payroll system. In this year’s budget, the Governor proposes $3 million to begin an analysis of proposed alternatives for replacing the system. It makes sense for the state to assess the potential problems, both in terms of functionality and stability, with the state’s payroll system and to explore solutions to these problems. The appropriate selection of a project alternative will be critical to the success of the future payroll project. As such, we recommend the Legislature require the SCO to present its full findings from the alternatives analysis before it is granted additional funding for subsequent analyses. This would provide the Legislature with a clear opportunity to provide meaningful input and weigh in with its own priorities for the payroll system before a solution is procured.
February 24, 2017 - In this analysis, we discuss our finding and recommendations regarding the Governor's proposal for the State Controller's Office Unclaimed Property program.
February 17, 2017 - In this analysis, we discuss our findings and recommendations regarding three proposals for the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) included in the Governor's 2017-18 budget: (1) BreEZe Information Technology System, (2) DCA Organizational Change Management, and (3) Registered Nursing Military Education and Experience. We discuss our findings and recommendations regarding DCA's two cannabis-related proposals in our recent report, The 2017-18 Budget: The Governor's Cannabis Proposals.
February 17, 2017 - At budget hearings on the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB), we recommend that the budget committees hear from PERB and affected employer and employee groups to understand (1) why PERB is not processing cases in a timely manner and (2) what actions are necessary for the department to meet legislative policy priorities.
February 16, 2017 - In this analysis, we discuss our findings and recommendations regarding two issues for the Office of Emergency Services included in the Governor’s 2017 18 budget: (1) drought and the California Disaster Assistance Act (CDAA) and (2) Public Assistance Program.
February 14, 2017 - Voters legalized the use of medical cannabis in California in 1996, and the Legislature approved the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MCRSA) in 2015. In November of 2016, voters approved Proposition 64, which legalized and created a regulatory framework for the nonmedical use of cannabis. In the coming year, the Legislature will face key choices about whether it wants to make statutory changes to bring the regulatory frameworks of MCRSA and Proposition 64 into greater alignment. Additionally, the Legislature will need to determine the staff and other resources to provide to the various agencies charged with regulating and taxing the cannabis industry. We recommend the Legislature (1) work with the administration to enact legislation to align the regulation of medical and nonmedical cannabis to the maximum extent possible, (2) make its decisions on the extent to which it wants to align the regulatory structures for medical and nonmedical cannabis before making its decisions on the Governor’s requested funding and related positions, and (3) take a more incremental approach to budgeting for departments that are requesting resources in 2017-18.