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March 15, 2019 - California requires banks, insurance companies, and many other businesses (called “holders”) to report and transfer to the state personal property considered abandoned by owners—this is called unclaimed property. Holder compliance with unclaimed property law is very low—likely around 1 percent. To address this problem, the Governor’s budget proposes allocating resources to the State Controller's Office (SCO) for more audits of potential holders. We agree with the Governor’s goal to increase holder compliance. However, the scale of SCO’s audits cannot address the vast holder under-compliance rate. To try to significantly increase holder compliance, this report presents policy options for legislative consideration.
March 5, 2019 - In this analysis, we assess the Governor’s 2019‑20 budget proposals for the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). Specifically, we review and make recommendations regarding the Governor’s proposals to (1) create a new Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Division (CPDPD) within CDFA and (2) combine seven separate budget proposals into a single budget document. We also briefly discuss the Governor’s proposal related to safe and affordable drinking water.
March 4, 2019 - This post evaluates the Governor’s proposed supplemental pension payment to CalPERS and provides some alternative ways to structure the payment.
February 25, 2019 - Presented to: Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 5 on Public Safety
February 21, 2019 - Presented To: Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee Hon. Holly J. Mitchell, Chair
February 13, 2019 - In this analysis, we assess the Governor’s 2019‑20 budget proposals for the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA). Specifically, we review and make recommendations regarding the Governor’s proposals (1) for increased funding for Consumer Affairs administration workload and (2) associated with the department’s updated business modernization plan for information technology (IT) projects at Release 3 boards and bureaus.
February 13, 2019 - The Governor’s budget proposes $2 billion for the Department of State Hospitals (DSH) in 2019‑20—an increase of $59 million (3 percent) from the revised 2018‑19 level. In this report, we assess four specific DSH proposals and offer recommendations for legislative consideration.
January 14, 2019 - This report presents our office’s initial assessment of the Governor’s Budget. The budget’s position continues to be positive. With $20.6 billion in discretionary resources available, the Governor’s budget proposal reflects a budget situation that is even better than the one our office estimated in the November Fiscal Outlook. The Governor’s Budget allocates nearly half of these discretionary resources to repaying state liabilities. Then, the Governor allocates $5.1 billion to one-time programmatic spending, $3 billion to reserves, and $2.7 billion to ongoing spending. Although the Governor’s allocation to discretionary reserves represents a smaller share of resources than recent budgets, the Governor’s decision to use a significant share of resources to pay down state debts is prudent. The Governor’s ongoing spending proposal is roughly in line with our November estimate of the ongoing capacity of the budget under an economic growth scenario. This was just one scenario, however. Recent financial market volatility indicates revenues could be somewhat lower than either we or the administration estimated.
January 10, 2019 - Government agencies are responsible for reacting quickly to disasters to help limit damage to people and their property. This includes assessing the disaster situation and bringing in the necessary resources to respond in a coordinated way. This post describes the state system used to facilitate a coordinated response to disasters. It also describes various types of disaster declarations that state and local governments make in order to receive financial assistance for response and recovery costs.
January 10, 2019 - In this post, we summarize the most common disasters affecting California—floods, fires, and earthquakes. We also provide some information on key disaster trends.
January 10, 2019 - In the event of a large-scale disaster, state and local governments, individuals and households, and businesses all can face damage to their properties and other possessions. Many of these losses ultimately are borne by these entities or individuals, their insurance, or the parties deemed responsible for the disaster, if applicable. However, both the federal government and the State of California provide various types of financial and in-kind assistance following certain disasters to offset some of the costs associated with recovering from disasters. Notably, the type of federal and state assistance that is available can vary by disaster, with some assistance only available in the aftermath of larger state or federally declared disasters. In this post, we summarize some of the major types of recovery assistance that can be available.
December 14, 2018 - In this post, we (1) explain how the scheduled state minimum wage increases impact IHSS wages and state and county costs, (2) describe the recent temporary and permanent changes to the state and county cost-sharing structure for IHSS wage and benefit increases, and (3) explain how these changes could impact county wage decisions and costs for the state.
December 13, 2018 - In this report, we first provide information on what the Census is. Second, we discuss how the Census is conducted—including the steps the federal government has taken to date and what it plans to do over the next few years to conduct the 2020 Census. (We also describe state efforts to supplement these federal activities.) We then discuss the likelihood of an undercount in California in 2020. Finally, we discuss the implications of an undercount for California both in terms of representation in Congress and federal funding.
December 6, 2018 - With a state as big, as populous, and as complex as California, quickly summarizing how its economy or state budget works is impossible. Instead, Cal Facts is a visual guide—using a variety of different charts—to the state's economy, revenues, and major program trends.