Chas Alamo
(916) 319-8357
Personal Income Tax, Employment, and Labor Law
Ann Hollingshead
(916) 319-8305
State Budget and Federal Funding
Nick Schroeder
(916) 319-8314
Public Employment, CalPERS, Elections, Veterans Affairs
Angela Short
(916) 319-8309
Child Welfare, Child Support, Community Services and Development, Community Care Licensing, CalSTRS
Jared Sippel
(916) 319-8335
Emergency Services and Business Regulation
Seth Kerstein
(916) 319-8365
Sales and Excise Taxes and Demographics


Other Government Areas

To browse all LAO publications, visit our Publications page.


The 2017-18 Budget: The State Controller’s Office Unclaimed Property Program

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.


The 2017-18 Budget: Department of Consumer Affairs

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.


The 2017-18 Budget: Public Employment Relations Board (PERB)

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.


The 2017-18 Budget: Office Of Emergency Services (OES)

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.


The 2017-18 Budget: The Governor's Cannabis Proposals

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.


The 2017-18 Budget: Military Department

February 10, 2017 - In this analysis, we discuss our findings and recommendations regarding two proposals for the Military Department included in the Governor’s 2017-18 budget: (1) the Sacramento Consolidated Headquarters Complex and (2) Advance Plans and Studies.


The 2017-18 Budget: California Debt and Investment Advisory Commission

February 3, 2017 - In this web post, we recommend that the Legislature reject the Governor’s proposal to increase the CDIAC’s expenditure authority by $200,000. We find that there is insufficient justification for the higher budget expenditure authority.


The 2017-18 Budget: State Treasurer’s Office

February 3, 2017 - The Governor proposes $799,000 from various special funds on an ongoing basis and five permanent positions to continue to support STO’s website and data sharing efforts. We recommend approving funding for these positions on a two-year limited-term rather than on a permanent basis.


The 2017-18 Budget: Department of General Services

February 3, 2017 - This analysis includes reviews of the following budget proposals for DGS in the Governor’s 2017-18 budget plan:

  • State Project Infrastructure Funding in 2017-18
  • Sacramento Region: State Printing Plant Demolition Preliminary Plans
  • Zero Emission Vehicle Project
  • Model Water Efficient Landscaping Ordinance (AB 2515)
  • Building Standards Commission, Exterior Elevated Elements (SB 465)


Improving California's Regulatory Analysis

February 3, 2017 - Chapter 496 of 2011 (SB 617, Calderon) made significant changes to the way California analyzes and reviews major regulations under the state's Administrative Procedures Act (APA). These changes were intended to promote regulations that achieve the Legislature's policy goals in a more cost‑effective manner. In this report, we provide a brief description of California's regulatory process, the potential value of regulatory analysis, and the recent changes made by SB 617. Although there have been some improvements in recent years, we identify some significant limitations that still remain. We provide recommendations that are aimed at addressing these limitations by ensuring that the potential effects of regulations are thoroughly analyzed and regulators are implementing the Legislature's policy direction in the most cost-effective manner.


MOU Fiscal Analysis: Bargaining Unit 8 (Firefighters)

January 23, 2017 - We reviewed the proposed memorandum of understanding (MOU) for Bargaining Unit 8 (Firefighters). State Bargaining Unit 8’s current members are represented by Cal Fire Local 2881. This review is pursuant to Section 19829.5 of the Government Code.


Understanding the Veterans Services Landscape in California

January 17, 2017 - In this report, we describe the demographics of California’s veterans and provide a high-level overview of veterans services provided in the state’s veterans homes and services provided in the community. We then review and provide our findings regarding the federally and state-funded services available to veterans related to four service areas of legislative interest: long-term care, transitional housing, mental and behavioral health, and employment assistance. Finally, we highlight issues for legislative consideration and offer options to improve service delivery within the veterans homes.


MOU Fiscal Analysis: Bargaining Units 1, 3, 4, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 18, 19, 20, and 21

January 10, 2017 - We reviewed the proposed memoranda of understanding (MOUs) between the state and 13 bargaining units (Bargaining Units 1, 3, 4, 11 through 15, and 17 through 21). These employees are represented by Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1000, the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Locals 3, 39, and 501 (both Craft and Maintenance workers and Stationary Engineers), the California Association of Psychiatric Technicians (CAPT), and the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME, Local 2620). This review is pursuant to Section 19829.5 of the Government Code.

(Corrected 1/19/17: Changed parenthetical about retiree health benefits for SEIU Local 1000.)

(Corrected 1/17/17: Changed Figure 3 to reflect 2015-16 normal costs and pay. Added text to refer to figure.)

(Updated 1/13/17: Added paranthetical about retiree health benefits for SEIU Local 1000.)

(Corrected 1/11/17: Removed reference to PEPRA employees being required to pay one-half of normal cost under PEPRA.)


Key Differences Between Recent Medical Cannabis Laws and Proposition 64: A Preliminary Review

December 20, 2016 - The Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MCRSA) provides a statutory framework for regulating medical cannabis and Proposition 64 of 2016 provides a statutory framework for regulating nonmedical cannabis. In this web post, we provide a preliminary review of the key differences between MCRSA and Proposition 64. We also describe some overarching issues for Legislative consideration.

(Updated 1/9/17)


Los Angeles' Bid for the 2024 Olympics and Paralympics

November 10, 2016 - Los Angeles, Budapest, and Paris are competing to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The International Olympic Committee will choose the winning city in September 2017. Both the state and the City of Los Angeles are already planning in case the Games return to Southern California. Earlier this year, the Legislature passed a bill to provide state support for Los Angeles' bid. Under that bill, the Governor is allowed to negotiate a contract with Games organizers for the state to provide no more than $250 million of back-up financial support if the 2024 Los Angeles Olympics end with a financial shortfall. The current Los Angeles bid greatly reduces the risk of shortfalls by relying on existing facilities, thereby minimizing the risk of large cost overruns that have plagued many prior Olympic hosts. We advise the Legislature, through its oversight process, to help Games organizers keep costs and financial risks as low as possible. This report notes issues that the state may need to consider as planning for the Games proceeds.

Also see our March 23, 2017 report Update on Los Angeles’ Bid for the 2024 Olympics.