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August 25, 2006 - We provide a fiscal analysis of the proposed MOU with Bargaining Unit 7, which includes certain state public safety personnel. The administration's estimates of costs are reasonable, but we forecast a lower inflation rate than DPA assumes in estimating costs of 2007-08 pay increases. In some agencies, costs to substantially reduce currently high vacancy rates could exceed DPA's estimates. Under the proposed MOU, we estimate that total compensation costs (including benefits) for Unit 7 rank and file would total about $515 million (up 11 percent from the prior fiscal year) in 2006-07 and $540 million (up 5 percent) in 2007-08. About 55 percent of the increased costs over the term of the agreement result from the proposed MOU. The remainder results from additional hiring authorized by the Legislature in the budget or state health contributions required under the current MOU.
August 18, 2006 - We provide a fiscal analysis of the proposed MOU with Bargaining Unit 5, which includes CHP officers. The administration's estimate of additional 2006-07 costs is reasonable. We estimate, however, that the annual fiscal impact after 2006-07 will be substantially more than shown in administration estimates because its projections assume (1) relatively low growth in the statutory pay formula for CHP officers, (2) no increases in state health premium costs after 2007-08, and (3) no change in required employer retirement contribution rates. By 2010-11, annual state costs could be $100 million higher than suggested in the administration estimate. In addition, various factors including pay and benefits for CHP and funding demands in the Department of Motor Vehicles are likely to put stress on the financial condition of the state Motor Vehicle Account, which funds Unit 5 personnel costs.
August 4, 2006 - We provide a fiscal analysis of proposed MOUs with Units 16 (physicians, dentists, and podiatrists) and 19 (health and social service professionals). The administration's estimate of costs resulting from the MOUs in 2006-07 is reasonable, but the estimate for 2007-08 is likely too high by $6 million due to a high estimate of inflation. We estimate that total compensation costs would rise to about $579 million in 2006-07 for a cost increase of over 10 percent. More than 40 percent of this increase results from factors other than the MOUs, such as court-ordered pay increases. In 2007-08, we estimate that costs would increase an additional 6 percent to about $610 million. In addition to these costs, we expect that future court orders related to correctional and mental health programs will increase pay for some members of these units by an unknown amount.
July 28, 2006 - We provide a fiscal analysis of proposed MOUs with Bargaining Units 12 (craft and maintenance workers) and 13 (stationary engineers). We believe that the Department of Personnel Administration's (DPA) estimate of costs resulting from the MOUs in 2006 is reasonable, but that the estimate for 2007-08 is likely too high by around $7 million due primarily to a high estimate of inflation. We estimate that total compensation costs (including benefits) for Unit 12 and 13 rank-and-file employees would rise to about $740 million in 2006-07 under the proposed MOUs for a cost increase of almost 7 percent. In 2007-08, we estimate that costs would increase to over $760 million, or more than 3 percent above 2006-07.
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.