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July 13, 2006 - A series of figures showing public retirement systems' funding status, absolute costs and costs as a percentage of General Fund expenditures over time. Presented to Governmental Affairs Committee, United Chambers of Commerce of the San Fernando Valley.
July 6, 2006 - We provide a fiscal analysis of the proposed MOU with the nine bargaining units represented by Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1000. We believe that the Department of Personnel Administration's (DPA) estimate of costs resulting from the MOU in 2006-07 is reasonable, but that the estimate for 2007-08 is likely too high by around $65 million due to a high estimate of inflation and not accounting for health care savings. We estimate that the total compensation costs (including benefits) for rank-and-file employees represented by SEIU would rise to over $5.5 billion in 2006-07 under the proposed MOU for a cost increase of almost 7 percent. In 2007-08, we estimate that costs would increase to $5.7 billion, or more than 3 percent above 2006-07.
June 6, 2006 - Chapter 665, Statutes of 2001 (AB 793, Cox) requires the LAO to report to the Legislature on the use of best value procurement by Municipal Utility Districts. Based on the limited experience to date, it appears that the best value procurement authority provides municipal utility districts with an important tool. The one district that has used the authority—SMUD—reports major benefi ts and we are not aware of any signifi cant downsides. Accordingly, we recommend that the Legislature extend the law which authorizes this practice beyond the current January 1, 2007 sunset date.
June 2, 2006 - We provide a fiscal analysis of the proposed MOU with Bargaining Unit 8, Firefighters. We believe that the Department of Personnel Administratrtion's (DPA) estimates of additional costs resulting from the MOU are too low. We estimate that net costs for the state will likely increase by at least $13 million in 2006-07 and $12 million in 2007-08 ($6 million more than indicated by DPA in each year).
May 18, 2006 - Presented to Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Subcommittee No. 3
February 23, 2006 - The California Public Utilities Commission administers several programs designed to subsidize telecommunications services in order to ensure universal access to these services. One of these is the California Teleconnect Fund (CTF) program, which provides discounts to schools, libraries, public hospitals and clinics, and community-based organizations (CBOs). While most of the eligible schools and libraries participate in the program, many eligible CBOs and public hospitals and clinics do not. We provide options to increase participation in the program by eligible entities.
February 23, 2006 - The retirement contribution rates set by CalPERS for the state and many local governments were volatile in the late 1990s and the early part of this decade. Governments had difficulty predicting annual contributions during their budgeting process. In 2005, CalPERS adopted a comprehensive rate stabilization policy. We believe the new policy promises more stability in contribution rates for the state and other public entities.
February 23, 2006 - The budget includes $382million ($203 million General Fund) for compensation increases for: (1) memoranda of understanding with five of the 21 employee bargaining units, (2) supervisors and managers of employees in those five units, (3) judges, (4) prison medical personnel required to receive them by a court order in the Plata v. Schwarzenegger case, and (5) medical personnel in other departments.
February 23, 2006 - The administration proposes to switch the Governor’s Office budget from traditional budgeting to an automatic annual adjustment. The change would cost about $1 million annually. The administration has offered no policy reason why the current process is not working. We therefore recommend that the Legislature reject the proposal to put the Governor’s Office budget on autopilot spending.
February 23, 2006 - The Governor’s budget assumes that proposed authority for the administration to reduce departmental budgets during the year will decrease overall state costs by $258 million. Since 2002-03, enacted budgets have included similar provisions. In reality, however, the full magnitude of these savings is rarely achieved. We recommend that the Legislature delete the proposed authority. The administration should identify any specific proposed savings in departmental budgets during the spring budget process.
February 23, 2006 - The Secretary of State (SOS) has provided few details on the department’s proposed implementation of HAVA. Based on the information received to date, however, we have a number of serious concerns with the agency’s approach. Delays by SOS over the past year in implementing components of the state’s HAVA plan have impaired counties’ ability to acquire and install HAVA-compliant equipment for the upcoming June 2006 primary election. In addition, SOS’s proposal for a statewide voter registration database exposes the General Fund to millions of dollars in costs, despite the state having received over $350 million in HAVA funds. We withhold recommendation on SOS’s HAVA expenditures pending the submittal of detailed justifications.
February 17, 2006 - The costs of providing health care to retired state employees and their dependents—now approaching $1 billion per year—are increasing significantly. Many other public employers (including the University of California, school districts, cities, and counties) face similar pressures. This report discusses health benefits provided to retired public employees, focusing on state retirees. We find that the current method of funding these benefits defers payment of these costs to future generations. Retiree health liabilities soon will be quantified under new accounting standards, but state government liabilities are likely in the range of $40 billion to $70 billion-and perhaps more. This report describes actions that the Legislature could take to address these costs.
January 23, 2006 - We revise our December 14, 2005 summary of the fiscal effect of the MOU with Bargaining Unit 2, Attorneys and Hearing Officers, based on a side letter which changes the retirement provisions of the previous MOU. We estimate that current annual costs for salaries, salary-related costs, and health benefits for Unit 2 members total $396 million ($144 million General Fund). The proposed MOU would require 2005-06 expenditures of about $409 million (an increase of $13 million, or 3.3 percent). The MOU would require 2006-07 expenditures of about $436 million (an additional increase of $27 million, or 6.7 percent). The side letter reduces the amount of savings the MOU otherwise would have produced for the state. The magnitude of the foregone savings is unknown since it would have depended on future decisions of Unit 2 employees.
February 24, 2005 - To the extent that the Legislature chooses to assess a fee to cover the state’s share of costs of the Medfly Preventative Release Program, we offer a number of considerations concerning a fee structure.