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Report

Reject More Autopilot Spending From the Administration

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.

Report

Delete Midyear Reduction Authority for More Honest Budgeting

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.

Report

Continuing Concerns With Help America Vote Act (HAVA) Implementation

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.

Report

Analysis of the 2006-07 Budget Bill, General Government Chapter

February 23, 2006 - Analysis of the 2006-07 Budget Bill, General Government Chapter

Report

Retiree Health Care: A Growing Cost For Government

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.

Post

MOU Fiscal Analysis: Bargaining Unit 2 (Attorneys and Hearing Officers)—Revised

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.

Report

Funding Options for the Mediterranean Fruit Fly Preventative Release Program

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.

Report

Doubling the Size of the Gambling Commission Not Justified

February 24, 2005 - The budget proposes an augmentation of $4.8 million and 46 two-year limited-term positions for increased regulatory activities related to tribal gambling. The request would double the size of the California Gambling Control Commission. The request fails to (1) clearly articulate what problems are being addressed, (2) justify a new state gaming lab, and (3) reflect a joint strategy with the Department of Justice. We recommend that the Legislature reject the request and the administration resubmit a proposal which addresses these problems.

Report

Cost Shift to Teacher Retirement Costs Raises Short-Term and Long-Term Issues

February 24, 2005 - The Governor proposes shifting $469 million in General Fund teacher retirement costs to school districts and/or schools. Due to current law requirements, it is likely that the proposal would require a $469 million upward “rebenching” of Proposition 98’s minimum guarantee—nullifying the proposed General Fund savings. In addition, from a long-term perspective, the proposal on its own would not address the retirement system’s shortcomings—the lack of local control and responsibility.

Report

Analysis of the 2005-06 Budget Bill, General Government Chapter

February 24, 2005 - Analysis of the 2005-06 Budget Bill, General Government Chapter

Report

Governor's Proposal to Suspend Election Mandates

February 24, 2005 - The Governor proposes to suspend all of the state’s election-related reimbursable mandates. These suspensions would reduce the state’s General Fund costs by $16.5 million in 2005-06. The suspensions, however, could cause confusion regarding election procedures and reduce statewide uniformity. We recommend funding a number of the mandates, but with a simplified reimbursement method.

Report

Help America Vote Act Implementation Considerations

February 24, 2005 - The implementation of the federal Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA) represents a significant opportunity for the Legislature to upgrade the state’s election systems and improve the administration of election laws. At a statewide level, the most pressing HAVA deadline is the requirement to have a federally compliant voter registration database operational by January 1, 2006. We offer a number of key considerations to assist the Legislature in implementing HAVA.

Report

Addressing Public Pension Benefits and Cost Concerns

February 22, 2005 - California “defined benefit” pensions in the public sector raise certain benefits and cost issues. The Governor proposes shifting all new public sector employees to “defined contribution” plans to address the high cost of the current system. Defined contribution plans address concerns with defined benefit pensions, but also introduce issues of their own. The Legislature could also address the benefits and cost concerns of current retirement plans within the existing defined benefit structure or with other pension plan alternatives.

Report

Assessing the Governor's Reorganization Proposals

February 22, 2005 - On January 6, 2005, the administration released its plans to eliminate 88 boards and commissions and to reorganize the Youth and Adult Correctional Agency (YACA). For each of the plans, we provide an assessment of its fiscal effect and raise key issues. Although the administration recently has decided not to forward its boards and commissions proposal to the Legislature, the piece provides key considerations for the Legislature when seeking to consolidate these types of entities. Regarding the YACA proposal, we conclude it has the potential to improve the efficiency, accountability, and effectiveness of the state's prison system. However, the plan omits important details that the Legislature requires in order to fully evaluate its merits. Our analysis indicates that the proposed reorganization would probably result in net costs in the short term, but has the potential to achieve significant long-term net savings by placing a greater emphasis on inmate rehabilitation as a means of increasing public safety.

Other

Legislative Analyst's Office Staff Guide, 2004

December 3, 2004 - Staff and their assignments within the Legislative Analyst's Office as of November 2004. (This document is 5 MB in size.)

Other Government Areas Staff

Chas Alamo
(916) 319-8357
Personal Income Tax, Employment, and Labor Law
 
Ross Brown
(916) 319-8345
Property Taxes, Bonds, and the Economy
 
Ann Hollingshead
(916) 319-8305
State Budget and Federal Funding
 
Lourdes Morales
(916) 319-8320
Local Government, Housing, and Homelessness
 
Nick Schroeder
(916) 319-8314
Public Employment, CalPERS, and Elections
 
Jared Sippel
(916) 319-8335
Emergency Services and Business Regulation
 
Brian Weatherford
(916) 319-8337
Corporation Tax and Insurance
 
Angela Short
(916) 319-8309
Teachers' Retirement Policy/ Child Welfare/ Community Care Licensing
 
Seth Kerstein
(916) 319-8365
Sales and Excise Taxes and Demographics