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March 8, 2018 - The decennial census enumerates each person in the United States. The results of the census apportion seats in the House of Representatives, guide legislative redistricting, and form the basis for allocating half-a-trillion dollars in federal assistance annually. The Census Bureau is making a number of significant changes to the 2020 Census. The Governor proposes providing $40 million for outreach to encourage Californians to complete the census. Given the major changes to the upcoming census—and the potential impacts to state funding—preparing for a significant outreach campaign can be in the state’s fiscal interest.
March 7, 2018 - Presented to: Assembly Local Government Committee Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee Senate Governance and Finance Committee
March 6, 2018 - The Governor’s 2018-19 budget proposes $15.7 million General Fund for the California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) to conduct a preliminary study to construct a new skilled nursing and memory care facility at the Veterans Home of California in Yountville. In addition, the Governor’s budget proposes to convert double occupancy rooms to single occupancy rooms in the domiciliary care unit at the Yountville veterans home. In this analysis, we (1) provide a brief background on the veterans home system, (2) describe the Governor’s proposal, and (3) provide our recommendations.
March 2, 2018 - In this analysis, we describe the Financial Information System for California (FI$Cal) Project and the major changes to the project based on the newly released Special Project Report (SPR). We also describe the Governor’s 2018-19 budget proposal to fund activities associated with the new SPR at the State Controller’s Office. Finally, we make associated findings and recommendations.
February 20, 2018 - This analysis includes reviews of the following 2018‑19 budget proposals for DGS: (1) the construction of three state office buildings in the Sacramento area—Richards Boulevard, Bateson, and Unruh projects; and (2) Zero-Emission Vehicles.
February 8, 2018 - This post reviews the Governor’s proposal to provide resources to the California Department of Housing and Community Development to administer the 2017 legislative housing package. Overall, we find the request to be reasonable. We suggest the Legislature consider a few opportunities to give the administration additional direction on how the housing package should be implemented.
February 6, 2018 - The Governor’s budget proposes to reduce 11 positions and $1.3 million annually (Real Estate Fund) for the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) beginning in 2018‑19 to reflect the transfer of the Bureau of Real Estate (CalBRE) out of DCA. We recommend the Legislature require that DCA report at spring budget hearings on the reasons for the difference between the charges that have been paid by CalBRE for DCA services ($5.7 million in 2017‑18) and the much smaller proposed reduction to DCA’s budget. We further recommend that the Legislature require DCA to begin tracking and reporting information on the use of DCA services by boards and bureaus to better assess whether there are widespread differences between the charges paid by entities and the services they are receiving.
February 6, 2018 - The Governor’s budget proposes $3.6 million in one-time General Fund in 2018‑19 and $3.3 million in ongoing General Fund to provide California Military Department (CMD) support to two public charter schools, the California Military Institute (CMI) and Porterville Military Institute (PMI). We recommend rejecting the proposed General Fund appropriation, but approving position and associated reimbursement authority for CMD. This should enable CMD to provide support to CMI and PMI if these schools choose to allocate some of their Proposition 98 funds to supplement their staffing with CMD personnel.
February 1, 2018 - The Governor proposes $207,000 from the Alcohol Beverage Control Fund in 2018-19, rising to $265,000 in 2022-23 and annually thereafter to fund additional rental costs associated with ABC occupying privately owned leased space rather than its current space in the state-owned Santa Ana State Building. We recommend rejecting this proposal because it is not needed given that the Legislature has decided it does not want to proceed with the administration’s plan to move ABC and other departments into the proposed privately owned leased space.
January 31, 2018 - The Governor’s budget proposes $900,000 in 2018-19 from a General Fund loan to support the continued implementation of CalABLE. While the proposal appears reasonable and we recommend its approval, we also recommend that the Legislature require CalABLE to provide a report that includes an evaluation of possible alternatives for reaching long-term financial self-sufficiency.
January 31, 2018 - The Governor proposes $450,000 in General Fund in 2018-19 and $400,000 annually thereafter to fund costs associated with providing IT support to State Treasurer's Office (STO) and the various boards, commissions, and authorities (BCA). We recommend that the Legislature approve the amount of the requested budget augmentation, but fund it from the various funds that support the STO and the BCAs rather than solely from the General Fund.
January 8, 2018 - The State Archives preserves and stores state government records of historical significance. Its collection of both physical and digital records grows annually. Under current practices, the State Archives will exhaust its capacity to store physical records within the next 15 years. To address these capacity concerns, we present two alternatives for legislative consideration. First, the Legislature could increase the Archives’ physical capacity while keeping archival practices similar to the status quo. This alternative would require the state to begin a planning process within the next few years. Second, the Legislature could direct the State Archives to rely principally on digital records in the future. This alternative could limit or delay the need for a new building, but would involve changes in state processes and new information technology systems.
December 7, 2017 - In this report, we provide background regarding the objectives and operations of the Project Management Office (PMO), detail our findings in evaluating the PMO, introduce two significant recent developments and their impacts on the PMO, and make associated recommendations on how the Legislature should proceed to better align the office with the original legislative intent.
November 15, 2017 - This post discusses the fiscal effects of California's minimum wage on the General Fund.
October 9, 2017 - When a property changes hands the taxes paid for the property often increase substantially. This is not true for most inherited property. Three decades ago, the Legislature and voters decided inherited property should not be reassessed when transferred. This has been a consequential decision. Many have benefited from the tax savings this policy affords. Nonetheless, the inheritance exclusion raises some policy concerns. Because of this, the Legislature may want to revisit the inheritance exclusion. Depending on the Legislature’s goals, the existing policy may be crafted too broadly and options are available to better target its benefits.
A short video accompanies this report.